05 Sep Divorcing? Think Twice Before You Post
Sharing feelings and updates about your pending divorce on social media might not seem like a bad idea, but the reality is anything you post can become evidence used in court. Additionally, regardless of whether or not you “unfriend” or block your spouse or mutual friends, you never know who could be lurking. Here are a few ways you should adjust your social media use when going through a divorce.
Check your privacy settings
If you are going through a divorce, it is critical to secure your social media accounts as much as possible. Adjust your privacy settings to boost restrictions on who can and cannot see your account. Security settings are constantly changing on different social media platforms, so you should stay informed as much as possible and monitor your settings accordingly. Don’t accept connection requests from individuals you don’t personally know – that person may in fact be a private investigator hired by your spouse to uncover dirt to use against you.
Think (more than once) before you post
Even if you think that photo of you holding a glass of wine seems harmless, the opposing party could use it as evidence that you have a drinking problem and are therefore unfit to have parenting time with your children or be involved in their decisionmaking. Always think of the worst possible outcome before posting on social media, and ask yourself whether you would want a judge to see your post and/or photographs.
Limit Use of Social Media
It might sound daunting (especially since for some, day-to-day communication with acquaintances is primarily via social media), but the best way to protect your privacy is to disconnect your social media accounts during a divorce. This will make retrieving evidence more difficult for the opposing party and limit the likelihood of online photos or posts being used against you in court.
Emails and texts are not off limits
A common misconception is that email and texts are not subject to the discovery process because they are personal accounts. However, they are absolutely discoverable (discovery is the process of uncovering communications and documents from another party that relate to claims at issue in the case) if a party believes there is relevant evidence contained in those communications. Additionally, any text messages or emails sent directly to your spouse can be used as evidence at a hearing or to impeach testimony.
Until a divorce is finalized, it is best to limit use of personal social media accounts and to keep other written communications civil and neutral. You should speak with an experienced divorce attorney to advise you on how to handle social media and other forms of digital communication during your case. Check out this interview with Jennifer Guimond-Quigley on “Impact Makers Radio,” in which she explains the implications of using social media during a divorce.
*It should be remembered that these are general guidelines and the specifics of how to handle social media during a divorce and will ultimately depend on the facts and circumstances of each case.