Social Media Impact on Divorce
When discussing issues like child custody, property division, and spousal maintenance, there is a good chance that emotions will run high. To get one’s way on these issues, your spouse may dig deep to collect evidence against you highlighting the fact that a judgement should be issued in their favor.
One type of evidence that is readily available, usable in a divorce case, and potentially detrimental for the outcome of your case is evidence on social media. Here’s a look at how the use of social media could impact your divorce:
Social Media Evidence Can Be Used Against You
The first thing that is important to know is that social media and other forms of electronic evidence, including emails and text messages, can be submitted to a court to sway a judge’s decision regarding the outcome of a child custody case. If you do have a social media account, it is important that you set others’ ability to view it to private, which means that only authorized users (your “friends”) will be able to see what you post. Further, be careful about who you accept as a friend, and if your soon-to-be-ex can view your social media profile, you may want to revoke their access. Anything that is published publicly can be used against you.
How Social Media Activity Could Affect the Outcome of Your Divorce
The following shares some examples of how posting on social media could affect your divorce.
- Spousal support. Your spouse is asking for a spousal maintenance award, but you don’t want to have to pay spousal support. As such, you claim that you don’t have a job, or are making less income than you were during the marriage. But then you post an update on your LinkedIn account announcing your new position at a prestigious company, and all it takes from there is a quick search of the salary associated with that position to know that you’re not being honest. Not only are you on the hook for spousal maintenance now, but you also face penalties for being dishonest.
- Grounds for divorce and division of property. When a party seeks a divorce in Virginia, they must state on which grounds the divorce is being sought. While most couples choose no-fault grounds after a year of separation, some might claim adultery, which could have an effect on other issues in the divorce, such as spousal maintenance and division of property. If your spouse claims that you cheated and you’re denying the allegations, but a quick check of your Instagram offers evidence that hints that you are indeed having an affair–like pictures of you and another party at hotels, on vacations, kissing, or even just spending time together–these photos can be used against to build a case.
- Child custody. One of the most emotional issues in a divorce case is that of child custody, as both parents often want custody of the child, or want plenty of visitation at the very least. When a court is making a determination about child custody, they look at a number of factors, and must always consider the best interests of the child. Posts or status updates on social media sites like Facebook could undermine your ability to spend time with your child if these posts are bashing your spouse (the court wants parents to foster a loving relationship between the child and the other parent), or highlight mental instability, or unsafe or illegal behavior (like getting wasted at the bar).
Best Practices for Social Media
If you have a social media account and are getting divorced, our lawyers at the law offices of Buck, Toscano & Tereskerz, Ltd., highly recommend that you set your profile to private at the very least, and filter through your friends. However, temporary suspending your accounts or/and refraining from social media use during the divorce may be wise.
To learn more about evidence that can be used against you in a divorce and how to improve your chances of a divorce settlement in your favor, please call our law offices today at 434-977-7977. You can also visit our office in person, or send us a message using the contact form on our website.