Social media is now a regular part of many people’s lives. Unfortunately, it is also playing a growing role in some divorce cases for a variety of reasons. Although you may think that the things that you share on social media shouldn’t have any relevance in court, there are times when these posts can have an impact on your ongoing divorce case.
Social Media and Divorce
How can social media impact your divorce? The truth is that there have now been many instances where a spouse’s social media activity has either helped or hurt various issues in a divorce case.
- Custody and Visitation. Family law courts will make custody and visitation decisions that they believe are in the best interests of the children. If this is a contentious issue between you and the other parent, what you post on social media could impact your case.
If you consistently share photos taken at nightclubs at 2 a.m. on weeknights, it’s not going to appear as if you are the responsible parent. Likewise, repeated bad mouthing of your children’s other parent on social media is also not something that the family court views favorably.
- Spousal Support. When the courts determine whether they will award spousal support, one of the factors they consider is the need for that support. A spouse isn’t necessarily entitled to spousal support just because the other spouse can afford to pay it, but rather, it is awarded based on a calculated need.
This is where a social media account could hurt a spouse’s case. If you are claiming that you have a “need” for support, but your social media account is full of images of exotic vacations, fine dining entrees, and designer clothing, it may hurt your case.
- Sources of Income. When there are issues of spousal or child support, a spouse may attempt to hide some of their income to reduce the amount that family law courts will order as monthly payments. A social media post could reveal that a spouse is running another business or generating income in some undisclosed way, which would impact the case.
- Property & Assets. Sometimes one or both spouses will attempt to hide assets and other property that is supposed to be divided during the divorce process. A spouse could be revealed for doing this if they post images or share something else on social media that exposes this concealed property.
- Character & Credibility.If a judge is facing a tough decision regarding a variety of issues involved in a divorce, the decision could come down to the character and credibility of one spouse versus the other. In these cases, an attorney may submit social media posts as evidence to persuade the court.
How You Can Protect Yourself During Your Divorce in Alabama
If you are going through a divorce, regardless of whether you agree or disagree with your spouse on most issues, you can take some steps to protect your rights and financial well-being. Several things you should do regarding social media include:
- Disable or shut down your account. If you have a pending family law case, we recommend that you consider shutting down or disabling your social media accounts until the matter is concluded.
- Verify your privacy settings. If you do keep your account active, tighten your privacy settings to limit the people who can view your activity.
- Change your password. Immediately change your password to something that your spouse won’t know.
- Delete any potentially damaging information. Remove posts and images that could potentially be used against you. Also, “unfriend” people that you don’t know or who are mutual friends of your spouse.
- Think twice before you post. Think several times before you post any images or “check-ins” about how the post could impact your family law case.
If you know that there is something on social media that could impact your case, speak with your divorce attorney about this immediately, keeping them in the dark about any issues could only make matters worse.
The experience Alabama divorce attorneys at the law offices of Haygood, Cleveland, Pierce, & Thompson, LLP, understand family law issues and will take the steps necessary to safeguard your rights. Contact our Auburn office now at 334.821.3892 or reach out to us online to schedule a consultation.