I’m going to start this blog post by stating my conclusion first: Beware of Social Media!
Divorce, custody, and/or any other matters involving the breakdown of the family unit can be difficult, and you may feel the need to vent your frustrations, vent your disdain for your ex, or possibly even vent your own guilty conscience. And, with the advent of social media, you no longer need a physical person present in order to expel your frustrations; you need simply to press “send.”
Social media, including Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, and Instagram, can be both a blessing and a curse for a person going through the trauma of separation, divorce, a custody dispute, or a support matter. It is a blessing because family and friends can be “near” even when they are far in distance. However, it can be a curse because it only takes a moment for you to destroy your own case. The instant, self-gratifying feeling you get when you debase your ex in a post, tweet, or comment can severely encumber your court case. And, in fact, even a benign post about your litigation and/or ex can damage your case. It is not worth it!
According to the infographic released by Ruppert & Shaeffer, P.C. in early July 2013, 81% of American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers members have used and/or encountered evidence taken from social media websites in their divorce cases, and one in five U.S. divorces is at least partially due to Facebook. Ruppert & Shaeffer also note that 66% of online divorce evidence comes from Facebook, 14% comes from MySpace, 5% comes from Twitter, and 15% comes from other social media sources.
The modern habit of posting our personal complaints and/or sharing the ultra-delicate matters of our personal lives on social media is not healthy for us or our court proceedings. Changing your relationship status, posting your location, tagging pictures of yourself with friends, posting negative comments about your ex, responding to a personal attack, and more can all injure your legal action. A large majority of social media content is public, and that which is not public can, more likely than not, be subpoenaed as evidence. Further note that, because so much of social media is public, there is a lower expectation of privacy in the social media world than there is in even email.
So, moral of the story – please think before you post to your timeline, update your status, leave a comment on that website, send that tweet, or engage in any other social media activity.
If you are facing a divorce, custody, visitation or support dispute, please speak with an experienced family law attorney as soon as possible. The family lawyers at Livesay & Myers, P.C. have years of experience litigating these cases throughout Northern Virginia. Contact us to schedule a consultation with one of our experienced attorneys today.