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Can Social Media Posts Be Used as Evidence in Divorce Court?

Over the last two decades, social media has transformed from a fringe activity for some to a major player in communication for most Americans.

According to the Pew Research Center, 72% of adults use some type of social media. A significant increase from just 5% in 2005. Facebook and YouTube are among the most popular for the other-30 set while Instagram and TikTok rule the landscape for younger adults.

No matter which platform you use, a social media post can be potentially used as evidence in a New York divorce.

Private Life on Public Display

Posting events big and small in our lives is a common occurrence on the multitude of social media platforms available today. Just by looking at posts and comments, we can know what someone ate for lunch, which friend they bumped into at the grocery store, and where their kids go to school. We know about birthdays, anniversaries, gifts, and pets.

These posts may seem harmless enough except when they are viewed through the lens of a pending divorce.

Social Media Can Hurt Your Case

How a post may affect a divorce case is limited by only the imagination. A post can inadvertently provide insight that hurts your divorce action.

Examples of how social media can impact a divorce include the following:

  • A spouse claims they can’t make spousal support payments but posts a picture of them standing beside their new car.
  • A parent is fighting for full custody because of their “superior” parenting skills, but their friend posts photos during an alcohol-fueled party night.
  • All assets are supposedly accounted for but one spouse posts about a weekend at their vacation home that the other spouse didn’t know about.
  • A check-in at a romantic restaurant with a “friend” underscores the possibility of infidelity.
  • One spouse claims they are unemployed, but a friend congratulates them online about a new job.
  • One or both spouses trash talk each other in a way that shows poor judgment, especially if their children can see the post.

As demonstrated in the above examples, your friends’ posts can be as problematic as your own.

Use Social Media Sparingly During Divorce

The safest social media practice is to stop using the accounts altogether. Today’s lifestyle and communication practices make it difficult to avoid social media use. There are actions that you can take to minimize its impact on you.

Tips for using social media during a divorce include the following:

  • Ask your friends and family to not comment about you or tag you in any of their posts.
  • Very that your privacy settings are the most stringent available on that platform.
  • Assume that anyone in the world can see any post.
  • Monitor your children’s use of all social media platforms.
  • Deleting a post or email does not make it disappear. Forensic specialists can bring deleted material back to life.

Beyond social media, be careful of anything you say in DMs, texts, and emails. These communications can also potentially come to light in your divorce case.

Trusted Legal Advice for Your Divorce

Acting as if the world is watching is often the best way to conduct yourself when going through a divorce. Taking the high road is advisable. Negative or incriminating social media posts can be used as evidence and arguments in custody and visitation disputes, spousal maintenance determinations, and property division.

Call (845) 605-4330 to schedule a consultation with an experienced attorney at the Law Office of Dennis R. Vetrano, Jr., LLC. We have 75 years of collective experience in handling complex divorce cases.

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