In previous decades, divorcing spouses may have hired private detectives or other surveillance to catch their spouses in lies or questionable behavior. In recent years, however, such resources have become almost unnecessary since many Americans tend to broadcast nearly every detail of their lives online. Social networking sites such as Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr, Twitter, and more allow people to post statuses and photos that allow a look into their daily activities. Such posts can make it very easy for divorcing spouses to catch each other in lies or combat arguments made to the court.
No matter how often divorce attorneys warn clients to stay off social media, we are constantly surprised by how many people ignore this basic advice. Some clients believe their online activities are okay because they “defriended” or “blocked” their spouse. However, you likely still have some online contacts in common with your spouse, and those “friends” may always report information back to your spouse. Information online is widely discoverable, so it is always the best idea to stay off these sites or even suspend your profile until after your divorce is final. The following are some issues that social media posts may adversely affect in your divorce.
Spousal Support and Property Division
If your spouse has significantly greater earning capacity than you, you may likely want to seek a greater portion of the marital assets and property or spousal support. However, social media posts may belie your claims of financial hardship and need for support. Photos of you on vacation, at concerts, or even a simple “check-in” at an expensive restaurant may give your spouse ammunition to fight against any spousal support orders.
If you and your spouse are arguing about any custody or time-sharing issues, you never want to risk looking like an unfit parent. For example, if you post any status updates or pictures that may indicate you are participating in excessive use of alcohol, drugs, or other partying activities, your spouse may use those to try to demonstrate that you are not acting in the best interests of your children.
Additionally, even if you do not post your own photos, there is always the chance that a friend will tag you in a post or photo. Even associating with questionable people can cast doubt on your reputation and your ability to act as a fit parent and role model.
The Ability to Negotiate with Your Spouse
It is often very tempting to air dirty laundry on social media sites. When emotions are running high, people may post negative messages regarding their estranged or separated spouse. This may cause tensions to rise and can make your spouse less likely to want to work together to come to agreements in divorce. Such acrimonious relationships often lead to litigation and lengthy battles to decide even the smallest of issues in a divorce.
In short, it is always best to stay off social media sites during a divorce and never risk that something you post may be taken the wrong way. If you are considering divorce, experienced Boca Raton divorce attorney Alan R. Burton can assist you with every aspect of your case.