Social Media Affects Divorce Cases, Too
Posted on: 7 May 2018
Thanks to some rather distinct cases, most people now know that posting on social media after you've been injured and are in the middle of a personal injury or disability case is not a good idea. But social media's reach has extended to other parts of legal life as well, and not many realize that. Even divorcing couples now need to be aware that their social media could be under scrutiny, and that scrutiny can affect the settlement.
Alimony is a typical outcome of divorce settlements, and a spouse who doesn't want to pay a lot might try to hide income. Social media posts may show pictures of the spouse enjoying a better lifestyle than their claimed income would support, it could reveal the spouse's work status, or it could show the spouse gaining extra employment (such as in the case of a self-employed spouse rejoicing over a juicy and lucrative contract).
No-fault divorce is legal nationwide now, so there's no longer a need to prove that a spouse has cheated in order to qualify for a divorce. However, if it turns out a spouse has been cheating, proof of that could affect the settlement and additional issues like child custody.
You would think someone cheating would be smart enough not to post evidence that the public could see, but really, if that person were smart, he or she wouldn't cheat, to begin with. It's not unheard of to find cheating spouses posting photos after the divorce has begun, thinking that separation alone clears any wrongdoing.
It is true and generally accepted that separated spouses date, but that's not the problem -- the problem is when those post-separation photos basically show the continuation of a pre-separation affair. Finding that evidence, possibly along with wording that somehow defames the other spouse or that points to inconsistencies in the cheating spouse's claims, can make the court more sympathetic to the other spouse. The other spouse could win full custody of children or end up keeping a lot more property, for example.
Abuse and Defamation
Posts on social media often include rants; everyone is prone to that. But a rant that defames or abuses the other spouse is also fodder for court action, not just for the defamation itself, but for gaining the upper hand during divorce proceedings. Even if one spouse was horrible and the rants completely justified, no one should place that information on social media, especially in a public setting. Making a post private can help, but even then, a friend or follower sharing the post among others can make the information public by default.
Lock down social media. Deactivate your accounts if you have to. Don't say or write anything that you can't defend in court and that you don't have evidence for. And make sure you have a social-media savvy attorney to help you through the divorce settlement. For more information, contact a company like The Law Firm of David Benning Smith.Share