TAGS

Family Law Blog

Divorce And Social Media: Can Ignoring Your Attorney's Advice About Posting Online Really Hurt You?

Monday, November 28, 2016

These days, many divorce lawyers advise their clients to stay off social media altogether until the divorce is final and custody and support issues are settled. But is it really all that foolhardy to ignore your attorney’s advice? Absolutely. Here are a number of different ways that social media can backfire on you during a divorce.

The opposing divorce attorney is going to mine your accounts for data.

Even if you put your privacy settings on "high," you still have no real expectation of privacy for anything you say online. That makes it fair game for an attorney to use if you one of your "close" friends decides to show your posts to your warring spouse.

Your spouse’s divorce attorney will be watching with the mindset of “Is this useful in court?” You likely don’t have the necessary expertise or experience to realize just what can and cannot hurt you.

For example, what if you have a bad day at work and post a picture of a glass of wine with dinner? That becomes an exhibit that suggests you have a drinking problem, poor coping skills, and shouldn’t be handling full custody of your kids.

Did you start a new romance? Your pictures of a weekend retreat with your new romantic interest could be considered “marital waste,” which will then entitle your spouse to a greater share of the remaining marital assets.

Are you frustrated and angry about your spouse’s failure to pay support on time? Spouting off on your Twitter account could violate the court order that prohibits you from disparaging each other in front of your children, especially if your children are old enough to have their computer access. That could be grounds to revisit your parenting agreement and shift custody to your spouse.

You may not legally be allowed to go back and delete what you posted.

If you temporarily lose your temper and post something that you know you shouldn’t, you may be tempted to delete the post seconds or minutes later. Unfortunately, that’s considered spoliation of evidence, which can also get you in trouble with the court. If word got around to your spouse, and he or she demands access to the post, you don’t want to be in the position of explaining to the court that you destroyed potential evidence.

As a result of the deletion, the court can order a negative inference against you, which means it can just assume that the post was destructive to your spouse’s reputation or disparaged him or her publicly.

As difficult as it may be to detach from social media for a while, consider the fact that your attorney is giving you advice for a reason—he or she has probably seen a lot of bad outcomes from posts that seemed okay at the time to the client.

For more information about this and other divorce issues, contact us today.