Social Media and Divorce - How to Protect Yourself
In this age of social media and always-on mobile connectivity, it should come as no surprise that our digital lives are also beginning to impact the divorce process. More divorce attorneys are seeing their clients turning to social networks like Facebook and Twitter to post updates, images, and videos of incriminating evidence of cheating, bad parenting, and generally bad behavior by their spouses and ex-spouses.
And as expected, law firms now see social media as a treasure trove of information they can use to bolster their client’s side during the divorce process. If you are going through a divorce right now, you can expect your soon-to-be ex’s divorce attorney to look for the following information on your social media accounts:
- Status updates, tweets, photos, and videos about your social life
- Photos and “Check-ins” with your children in places you should not be
- Photos of liquor consumption
- Photos of drug use
- Posts referencing your employment situation and income
- Inappropriate content relating to sex and polarizing issues
Below are a few examples of situations where your social media activities can be used against you:
- You told your spouse you could not afford to pay for your child’s school fees. But you recently uploaded photos of your last holiday in the Bahamas on Instagram.
- You are locked in a bitter child custody battle. Your spouse’s divorce attorney shows photos and videos on Facebook of you being inebriated, setting you up to look like an irresponsible parent.
- You were supposed to spend time with your children over the weekend but cancelled due to last-minute errands. Later that evening, you posted photos of you and your friends having drinks on Facebook.
- You are trying to negotiate lower spousal maintenance payments because you don’t have a job. But you tweeted on Twitter about your excitement over getting a job offer.
The idea here is simple: if you know you are doing something you should not be doing in the first place, do not share or talk about it on the Internet. Even if your Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram profiles are set to ‘private,’ as long as other people—even your closest friends and family—can see your content, you are putting yourself and your divorce at risk. Discuss these issues with your Austin divorce attorney if in doubt.
Here are a few things you can do to protect yourself online:
Always be careful about what you post – You could be underestimating just how many people can see your posts. A friend who likes your photo means that a record of a ‘like’ on that photo can be seen by that person’s friends.
Replace Your Account Passwords – if your spouse knows your Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram passwords, change them right away to something he or she will not be able to guess. Avoid birthdays, anniversary dates, your children’s names, or your pet’s names.
Change Your Privacy Settings – Even if you have already set your privacy settings, you should still check to see if your chosen settings are intact. Social networks like Facebook constantly change their privacy settings, so what you thought was private a few years ago may not be today.
If you have more questions about social media and divorce, do not hesitate to schedule a consultation with Austin divorce attorney Daniella Lyttle. Get in touch with the legal team of the Lyttle Law Firm to learn more.