In recent years it has become common practice in family law cases to use social networking sites as tools to gain evidence in divorce, child custody, and child support cases. Facebook and Twitter are amongst the top social media sites used by individuals to express their daily thoughts and to vent to the cyber-world about their pet peeves and life’s injustices. Then there are other sites like LinkedIn and other business networking sites where people promote themselves professionally. Many people who are in the process of a divorce, child custody and/or support case thoughtlessly put their life out there on the Internet through Facebook, MySpace, Instagram, Twitter and other forms of blogging and social networking. Although social media can be entertaining, informative, and innocent, these sites can also be detrimental to your case.
Here are ten of the most typical types of social networking posts that can negatively impact your case:
- Posting pictures of lavish vacations, fancy cars, new motorcycles, or luxury items (especially if support is an issue);
- Tweeting about your crazy Saturday night out (when you were supposed to have been parenting your children);
- Post referencing marijuana, other drugs or even alcohol use or a “party” lifestyle – even if the post does not indicate YOU are doing so – can impact custody issues;
- Posting a profile on dating or other websites seeking any kind of “hookups”;
- Posting provocative pictures of yourself or others during custody cases;
- Updating your status about your new girlfriend/boyfriend, especially when your divorce is not finalized;
- Maintaining a profile on dating websites as “single, with no kids” when you are not single – or when you are seeking custody of your children;
- Posts by your new girlfriend/boyfriend showing off gifts you bought him/her may result in allegations that you are dissipating marital assets during divorce and undercut actions to reduce support;
- Venting or posting about an active court case or decision or about the other party, their family (or yours if not in a positive way) or the other professionals involved in your case (just not wise);
- Posting things that can be perceived as threats to others, especially if you are accused of having anger management issues.
It is crucial to point out that while you are posting information on your social networking site, your ex-spouse and his/her lawyer may be printing it out to use against you! Why give them any ammunition? Consider taking a complete break from social media or staying away from posting personal matters while you are going through any case that could affect your family’s future. At a minimum, you should carefully consider the potential impact of whatever you post before posting or being tagged in photos. If you do find yourself needing an attorney to resolve any legal family matter, contact Hofheimer Family Law at (757) 785-9761 to see what legal options are available and appropriate.