Social media (from Facebook to Instagram) is great for sharing pictures and updating friends and family on recent events. While going through a family law dispute or divorce, however, this changes. You must be careful what you post and consider how a judge would view a photo or comment at trial.
Facebook and other social media posts are playing a role in more divorce cases. The general rule of thumb is to stay off social media during a divorce. If that seems impossible, we have several tips in this post.
If you cannot resist posting to social media, consider the following:
1. Avoid posting these types of pictures: Anything that could appear to show partying, drinking or doing drugs. A tag by a friend or relative could also mean that a picture of you ends up in the newsfeed of an ex- or someone close to him or her. A new profile picture with your new significant other can also lead to anger and make it more difficult to reach an agreement through negotiation and mediation.
2. Do not comment on your divorce or child custody proceeding: Judges do not appreciate when people post rants or negative comments on social media. Avoid posting about your children, your spouse or a mediation session/court hearing during a case. To get your frustration out, you may write a post, but then make sure to delete it.
3. Deleting or deactivating a Facebook profile: Discovery requests during a contested divorce or child custody case may ask for information about social media accounts and copies of everything posted in a certain time frame. This means that even if you want to get rid of social media profiles, you need to act cautiously. For instance, deleting a Facebook profile permanently removes everything associated with the user. This could be viewed as trying to cover up evidence that would reflect poorly on you. Deactivating a profile hides most of your activity and others are unable to search for your account, however, Facebook saves your information if you were to need it.
While you may believe your actions on social media are innocent, they can easily be misinterpreted. When this happens, it can have serious consequences. If you are thinking about divorce or separating from the other parent, it can be helpful to consult with an experienced family law attorney to ensure you are taking the right steps.