How Much Does Social Media Matter During a Washington Divorce?

undefinedIn this day and age, social media has become an integrated part of many people’s lives. Whether you’re an active influencer or you pop onto Facebook every now and then to keep up with old friends, most people have created at least one social media account at some point in their lives. If you are an active user of sites such as Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter (amongst others), you may be wondering if your online presence can be used against you during your divorce.

A general rule of thumb, and an important practice to heed while undergoing a dissolution, is to refrain from posting about your divorce online. As frustrating and difficult as a contentious divorce can be, and as tempting as the desire to rant about your experience online may be, refrain from blasting your experience or thoughts online while court proceedings are still underway. Social media content can be used as evidence against you by your ex’s opposing party—if it’s public content, you can be held liable for statements that could be used as ammunition in a divorce battle.

Types of information that you want to refrain from posting about include:

  • Personal facts about what led to your dissolution, such as infidelity, lying, abuse
  • Long rants or derogatory remarks regarding your ex
  • Disputes that you and your ex are having regarding child custody, alimony, asset division
  • Financial difficulties, or any information pertaining to your joint or individual financial matters
  • You and your attorney’s legal strategies regarding the dissolution
  • Upcoming mediations, court dates or scheduled meetings with your attorney
  • Sharing your location, especially pertaining to experiences that showcase spending money (vacations, meals, going out, etc.)
  • Images of drinking, partaking in any sort of drug (even if it’s legal), or reckless behavior

When going through a dissolution, you must view all social media posts through the lens of your opposing counsel, and how it could be used as evidence against you. For example, if you and your ex are in a custody dispute, posting photos of drinking or a rant defaming your ex could be used as evidence that you abuse substances or wouldn’t encourage your child to have a healthy relationship with both parents. Perhaps you and your ex can’t agree on spousal support, but you posted a photo of being on a vacation—your ex’s attorney could use this as evidence that you are clearly in a financial state to take recreational trips, and thus aren’t in need of additional funds. Remember that opposing counsel’s job is to build a case in favor of their client—this means that they will be looking for evidence in your ex’s favor. Even if your intentions are pure and feel that you can dispute claims made against you, it’s better to not risk it.

If you’re a regular social media user going through a divorce, consider taking a step away from posting personal information while litigation is underway. Divorces are hard and it’s important to have a support system while you work through a challenging season—rather than rely on the internet to find solace, it’s best to keep venting or personal details of your divorce to in-person conversations with people that you trust. Even if you and your ex are no longer connected via social media, don’t assume that private information can’t still make its way to them via mutual contacts. If you’re considering a divorce and are interested in learning more about how you can protect yourself amidst the legal process, and how our firm can help you achieve favorable outcomes, call our office today.