Given the explosion in popularity of social media services such as Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and Google Plus, posting on social media is now an integral part of modern American life. Whether it be used as a venue for posting a politically-charged rant or for sharing a photos of a recent vacation, many people’s gut reaction to any sort of stimulus or event in their lives is to whip out their smartphone and let their friends on their various networks know about it.
While social media can be an excellent way for people to connect and stay in touch with each other, it can also come with various legal implications, particularly in regards to family law situations such as divorce. If you are going through a divorce, it is imperative you exercise extreme caution when posting on social media or using any sort of electronic communication. Anything you say or send, whether it be a text message, email, or social media post, can affect your leverage during divorce negotiations and potentially sway a judge’s decision in your spouse’s favor.
But My Posts Are Private, Right?
Not so fast. While many social media services do indeed have their own sets of privacy settings that can help you choose who sees your posts, there are several ways in which your posts could end up in the wrong hands. The internet is written in ink, and everything that is posted is permanent. Even if deleted, there is likely a cached version or a screenshot of it on a server that can be uncovered with a little digging. Most social networks also have features that allow friends of friends to see posts that their friends have commented on or liked, thereby causing a person’s posts to be accessible to a much wider audience than initially believed.
In addition to these features, it is important to remember that people still talk to each other, and gossip can spread like wildfire. Even if you have blocked your spouse on your network of choice, if you have mutual contacts, they can potentially relay details about your activity to your spouse and expose certain information that you would have preferred to have remained hidden.
For example, say a couple is divorcing and is in the middle of a heated child custody dispute. The wife has filed for divorce over her husband’s alleged drug use – which he vehemently denies – and is seeking full custody of their two-year-old child. If the husband is all of a sudden tagged in a photo on Facebook of him lighting a bong with his friends, the judge may have reason to believe that he is unfit to care for his child and proceed to award custody to the mother. Likewise, if a person were to claim to be unable to pay spousal support due to financial hardship, but proceeds to post photos on Facebook of their brand new luxury watch, the receiving spouse will likely receive a greater award.
Online Conduct to Avoid During Divorce
As a rule of thumb, if you are going through a divorce, it is important you refrain from posting or sending anything that you would not want a judge to read.
Do not post any of the following before, during, or shortly after your divorce:
- Derogatory statements or comments about your spouse
- Photos with your new significant other
- Photos or posts depicting irresponsible parenting
- Racial slurs, profanity, or other morally questionable content
- Photos or statements depicting criminal activity
Divorce Attorney Serving Dutchess County, NY
If you are approaching a divorce or are knee-deep in the process, it is important you have an advocate on your side who can protect your interests. At the Law Office of Denis R. Vetrano, Jr., LLC, our compassionate and skilled Dutchess County divorce lawyers can handle the legal heavy lifting on your behalf and provide the support you need to get through this difficult time as smoothly as possible.
Call (845) 605-4330 or schedule a no-cost case review today to review your legal options.