The social media explosion over the past decade has created an entirely different way of communication both to each other and about themselves, than generations in the past. Most adults online regularly use social media networking websites, face book, Instagram, and twitter which are all rich sources of information.
When you litigate a family law matter, or any lawsuit, parties” discover”, or learn about one another’s case and obtain evidence in the case. You may be asked under oath about your social media postings and may be compelled to give access to your social media profile. There may be demands for access to your cell phones, laptops and other electronic devices. Is there is anything on your social media posts that you wouldn’t want a court to see?
So much of our lives is put on social media and recorded on your electronic devices. Information is given away such as your presence at a time and place as well as extensive documentary of exactly where your phone has travelled. Your Facebook page, Instagram, tweets etc. reflect who you are, your priorities and values, your political and religious beliefs, your thoughts and interests. You most likely would not view how a judge might see those postings when determining your role in the demise of your marriage or your fitness as a parent. Your spouse may say you drink too much and there are photographs of you partying on Facebook and Instagram, that may lend credibility to the claims. If asked by a judge with your own words, you might tell the judge, “I was only kidding “or “That’s not in context”, you may still not be persuasive in the courtroom.
In family law cases there are claims regarding lifestyle and income. You tell your spouse you cannot afford the alimony or child support they are asking. If your social media posts are full of pictures of you on vacation, or with new costly “toys”, your protests will not be considered. A judge may decide you are not truthful about your income and therefore you may be not truthful about other things as well and your credibility is damaged.
If it is bank records, cell phone bills, texts, email, voice mail, often you do not change passwords and the estranged spouse can access your information. The potential evidence available to litigators has exponentially expanded due to the dependence on electronic devices. Social media information is now routinely requested and reviewed in family law litigation.
The best thing to do during family law litigation is to avoid social media altogether. If litigation has begun it is too late to attempt to delete your accounts and those actions can be considered destruction of evidence. It is important today as a parent to think very carefully about what information you are sharing and what evidence you may be creating and what a judge may think about you and your image on social media.
If you need advice about how to deal with social media issues during a divorce, support or custody case, family law attorney, Lisa M Dawson, P.A. can help you.
Call us when you need us during and after business hours! We are located at 712 S. Ocean Shore Boulevard, Flagler Beach, Florida 32136.
Phone number 386-243-9337