Going through divorce can be an isolating experience. Not only does it mean separating from your spouse and a good portion of the belongings you shared, it can mean losing time with your children. Sometimes, it even means losing friends and acquaintances.
In moments of doubt or loneliness, you may turn to social media to reach out and connect with others. Especially if your family and friends live far from your home. But you need to be careful about the things you post online. Even your private posts may be used against you.
The opposing attorney is likely paying attention
Setting your accounts to private doesn’t necessarily prevent your posts from ending up in court. Despite your privacy settings, social networking is all about disseminating information. Things have a way of getting around, and you can bet the opposing attorney is watching for posts to use against you. In fact, a company that provides attorneys with certified internet records claims that 81% of all attorneys find evidence in social media that they can present in court.
What are these attorneys looking for? Some common things include:
- Evidence of an affair or other poor conduct
- Evidence that may contradict your claims about your finances
- Crude or hostile remarks directed toward your soon-to-be former spouse that could harm your custody battle
- Evidence of behaviors that might hurt your custody claim
- Evidence that your spouse contributed to your education, career or business
Because there are so many ways that others may try to use your posts against you, attorneys commonly advise you to refrain from social media. Either post only what you’d want a judge to see or avoid posting altogether.
Notably, it’s not just your posts that can get you in trouble. As Forbes noted, the court might also review your emails and texts. Plus, you want to talk to your friends about their social media posts. If one of them brags online about how you enjoyed the high life on an overseas vacation, you might have a hard time arguing that you’re struggling financially.
When should you go quiet on social media?
Spouses often review each other’s social media feeds even before they get divorced. You might scan your spouse’s feed if you suspect he or she might be cheating on you. You can expect your spouse to do the same. So, if divorce is even slightly in the picture, you may want to cut back on your social media activities.
Illinois law aims for equitable divorce. But the nature of what’s equitable depends on the evidence to support many factors. Don’t let your social media work against you.