Dos and Don'ts of Social Media & Family Law
Do’s and Don’ts: Family Law in the Age of Social Media
In today's digital age, social media has become integral to our daily lives. While platforms like Facebook, Instagram, X, TikTok, and Linekdin offer excellent ways to stay connected with friends and family, they can also pose risks during delicate situations, such as divorce proceedings. As an experienced divorce attorney, I understand the potential impact of social media on divorce cases. In this blog post, we will explore essential do's and don'ts for individuals going through a divorce to ensure their social media activity does not negatively affect their case.
DO: Exercise Caution and Privacy Settings
Whether it’s child custody, divorce, or a restraining order, emotions usually run high. It’s essential to be mindful of what you post on social media. Avoid sharing intimate details of your case, disparaging remarks about your soon-to-be-ex-spouse, or any content that could be used against you in court. Even when you think that posting about how “bad” the other parent is, and you are trying to get other people on your side, the bottom line is, usually, these posts go too far in ways you do not realize.
Think about trying to portray yourself as a strong financially responsible dad, for example, and then trying to argue in front a judge you cannot afford spousal support payments. Pictures of you on vacation, wearing designer outfits, are all available for download with timestamps.
DON'T: Vent or Post Emotional Content
It is obvious that posting negative emotional content and venting is bad. But, also do not post overly supportive content. Happy Father’s Day to the best dad ever, for example, arguing that the father of your children should not have equal custody. Remember that anything you share on social media can be preserved and used as evidence.
DO: Seek Legal Advice Before Posting
If you are uncertain about the appropriateness of a social media post, call your lawyer. I see this evidence all the time. We scour social media pages. LinkedIn has a button that allows you to download someone’s entire resume. Making it easy for me to, for example, argue for alimony. We can run background checks based on prior address history and make a case regarding someone’s character.
Depending on your case, a lawyer can provide valuable guidance on what content to avoid and the potential consequences of specific posts.
DON'T: Discuss Legal Proceedings Online
Avoid discussing the details of your case or any negotiations on social media. The poker face is a strong negotiation tool, but not when you are gushing about how great a deal you are getting on the internet. It is just a negotiation until the ink is dry and the judgment is entered.
DO/DON’T: Document and Preserve Evidence
While being cautious about your social media activity, monitoring the other side’s posts can be essential. It is very tempting to go try pulling information yourself when preparing a case immediately.
Be warned, though, do not do this if there is a restraining order against you. Contempt may even include when a LinkedIn message indicates you are viewing the victim or “alleged victims” profile or when you are viewing a story. While being aware of the opposing parties’ online activity is essential, refrain from using social media to spy or gather evidence illegally. Always ensure that any information obtained is legally obtained and admissible in court (consult with a lawyer).
When you do find something, I cannot tell you how valuable it can be. It truly makes the difference in the right case. It paints a picture to the court that speaks for itself.
DON'T: Flaunt New Relationships or Extravagant Purchases
It's natural to move on. Flaunting new relationships or displaying expensive purchases can be perceived negatively by the court. Such behavior may raise questions about financial matters or parental fitness, potentially impacting child custody or support arrangements. It is best to keep new relationships or recent big purchases private during divorce proceedings.
In the age of social media, exercising caution and discretion is crucial. Be mindful of your online presence. Social media activity can significantly impact your case and its outcome. By following these do's and don'ts, individuals can protect their interests and maintain a level of privacy during this challenging time. Remember, when in doubt, seek legal guidance to navigate the complexities of divorce and social media responsibly.
If you or someone you know is going through or considering divorce, feel free to contact A. Brown Esq. LLC for a free consultation.