When you’re getting ready for or going through a divorce in Washington, it’s not surprising if you feel the urge to turn to social media and vent some of your emotions and frustrations. Once thought of as being mainly for kids and young adults, social media these days is used by everyone for just about everything. From keeping friends up-to-date to connecting with new people, you may be on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other platforms for a variety of reasons now.
However, as with any other way of expressing yourself, social media has also changed the way people are looked at during divorce proceedings. What once seemed like an innocent Facebook post can now be used as a seed to start something negative against you in your divorce case. This is why many family law attorneys will advise you to limit or stay off social media during your divorce, and there are a lot of good reasons for this.
The Posts Are Never Fully Secure
It is common for social media posts to be brought up in court. Things like poorly considered photos from Instagram and angry rants on Facebook are handed to a judge, and they can have an impact. Never believe that your social media posts are invisible to your spouse. Even if you’ve made your profiles and accounts the digital Fort Knox, there’s always a way for someone to see what you have posted.
Your Posts Can Show Your Spending Habits
Money is often a big issue in a divorce. When you’re posting photos of yourself out at places or with friends, shopping or otherwise spending your money, it can be a nail in the financial coffin of your case, so to speak. If, for example, you’re asking for spousal support but you have social media posts that show shopping, vacations and other spending, your spouse can use this to show that you don’t need the amount of support you’re asking for or any at all. This is not to say that you can’t buy things or even take a trip while you’re going through a divorce–it’s just about how it would look to an outsider. Your vacation could be the first one you’ve taken and will take for years, but a judge may not consider that fact.
Social Media Can Hurt Custody Disputes
If you have children, they are an even bigger concern than finances. Your spouse’s attorney will waste no time producing social media posts that show you out with your friends–especially when alcohol or drugs are involved–and using those posts to show the court that you are not fit for the custody you want. It does not matter if these posts don’t reflect your typical life or are jokes. Assume that whatever you post will always be taken as it looks, even if there is a proper explanation behind them.
Your Words Can Come Back to Haunt You
We all need to blow off steam, but that rant you posted on Facebook may be used to paint you as unstable, angry or both. Even if you post and delete, there are still ways for someone to find and use your own words against you.
Photos can act as evidence beyond the image
A photo is worth 1,000 words, and this is true in your divorce case. Not only does a photo show something happening, but it’s also usually tagged with where it was taken, when it was taken, the people you were with, and other information. These are all things that can be used to support an argument against you.
Friends Can Turn on You
Mutual friends or relatives of your spouse with whom you have good relationships find themselves in an awkward position when you divorce. While some people will not choose sides and will stay out of the matter, others may decide to fully support your spouse. If they have access to your social media, they can pass information to your spouse, who could then deliver it to their lawyer..
Social media is a daily part of many lives so it can be tough to stop using it. However, during a divorce, there are so many pitfalls to using social media that it is best avoided. When you need to talk to someone, find a trusted relative or friend and do so in person.