We’re all on social media. And we’re all sharing information with the world at large at an alarming rate. Sometimes, when I think about it, (and usually, if I’m being honest, I try NOT to think about it) I feel pretty nervous.
I’m not all that young anymore, but I’ve had a Facebook account since my sophomore year of college. (In those days, only college kids could have Facebook—that’s how old I am!) Before that, I had a MySpace account (originally, it wasn’t only for hook ups; it was all we had!). I was on AOL Instant Messenger, too, back when you left an away message up when you weren’t at your computer sending messages to all your friends (which, let’s be honest, was almost never). In those days, I even had dial up internet.
I know. Practically prehistoric. But it’s crazy that these sites have been systematically saving information about me since before I even realized the importance of what I was sharing with the world. For kids today (gosh, now I sound really old), they’re sharing even more even younger, which is scary to think about. Before they really even have fully developed brains (which, apparently, doesn’t happen until you’re like 26, which is an insanely long time to be walking around with questionable judgment), they’re oversharing. And, once shared, information on social media sites doesn’t go away. You can delete it, but it’s still saved away somewhere, and could, theoretically at least, come back to haunt you one day. (And it does all the time when people apply for jobs. Or face divorce or custody cases.)
If you’re on social media and you’re facing a divorce or custody case, you’re not alone. Obviously. Literally almost every single person in the world (aside from my dad) is on social media. It’s so common, it’s not even considered a question anymore. Even old, old grannies have Facebook accounts so that they can see pictures of their grandkids (and bore us all with endless status updates about drinking their prune juice and “hilarious” memes that are, like them, a bazillion years old). It’s not surprising that you have a social media account. And, in most cases, I doubt that there’s really any judge who will hold your social media account against you—at least, not in the sense that he or she would hold against you the fact that it exists. What you choose to share, though, can paint an entirely different story—and can, ultimately, hurt (or even totally ruin) your case.
Have a social media account—but be very, very careful about what you share. Be ever mindful of what kind of image you’re portraying, and what that says to the judge about your decision making (especially if custody is an issue). If you imply that you’re having an affair or out all night drinking with a group of scantily clad women on a regular basis, you might raise some eyebrows. You might be unwittingly providing evidence that you’ve committed adultery or that you really aren’t all that concerned about parenting compared with your bustling social calendar. Don’t make a mistake and assume that your Facebook account is somewhere the judge won’t go. He will. Don’t live to regret it later.
Of course, you’ve never been through a divorce or custody case, and it’s hard to know ahead of time what decisions you should be making to ensure that you’re not going to jeopardize your case accidentally. You want to be careful, but… What does that mean?
What choices should you be making? How can you live in the real world (because, let’s face it, real people have social media accounts) without hurting your case?
Spoiler alert: Deleting your account can, in many cases, damage your case—and, in reality, deleting your account is probably one of the last things you want to do. You might think that just deleting is the quickest and easiest way to make sure that nothing you’ve done online can come back to bite you later, but…well, technically, you’d be wrong.
That’s why it’s important to make sure you get solid, up to date, Virginia specific legal advice when it comes to what you should do and how you should manage your online presence. For more information, consider requesting a copy of our free report, 5 Ways that Social Media Will Get You in TROUBLE During Divorce and Custody Cases. It’s totally free, and it was written (by me, actually!) just for you. Don’t make mistakes without realizing it; protect yourself now, before it’s too late.
Social media is a landmine, really. Charlie Hofheimer says (and I think it’s wise), “If you’re going through a mine field, follow someone!” We’ve been there, we’ve seen cases get ruined over information provided over social media, and we’ve spent a lot of time gathering practical tips and tricks designed to help protect you from making those same mistakes. Use our expertise to your advantage! Request a free copy of our report today. Click here.
If you are facing a divorce and need a divorce lawyer on your side during this process, be sure to contact us today. We would be happy to help you!