By Dana McKee
Most people today engage in some form of social media whether it be Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, or a myriad of other social media accounts. Users typically fall into one of two groups: active and passive users of social media. The active users regularly use social media to let their network know what is happening in their lives and their thoughts on everything from the new local restaurant to current events. The passive users rarely post but reap the benefits of keeping apprised of the thoughts and actions of the active users in their network.
In divorce or custody actions, social media postings may prove to be a minefield for active users of social media. For example, a beautiful photo of your luxury vacation with your new significant other, may not look so beautiful when your spouse’s divorce attorney points to it as evidence that you dissipated marital assets. Similarly, a photo of you drinking at a wild party during a time when the children are with you will not play well before the judge who will be deciding custody issues.
Even what may seem an innocent photo or posting at the time, may be susceptible to uses that could hurt you in your divorce or custody case.
The best way to protect yourself from having your social media accounts used against you in your divorce or custody action is to stop posting on social media until after your matter is fully resolved. Become a passive user. Do not like or share any content online.
Also, change your computer and social media account passwords so no one can gain access without your knowledge or permission.
If you cannot refrain from using social media, here are some general tips to follow:
- Never post anything privately or publicly that you may not want other people, like the judge, to see.
- Do not change your profile status from “married” to “single” until your written settlement agreement or divorce is finalized.
- Do not discuss your divorce or custody case on social media.
- Do not criticize or otherwise disparage your spouse, your child’s other parent, the judge, or the other party’s attorney on social media.
- Do not post anything on social media that indicates your political or religious beliefs.
- Do not post anything on social media that indicates that you are dating someone new until you are officially single even if your spouse knows of your extramarital affair.
- Do not post photos of anything that shows how you spend your money or things that you purchased that cost more than $100.
- Do not post photos of you partying.
- Ask your friends and family not to post anything about you online, including photos, without your approval.
At the end of the day, the number one rule is to use common sense. Less is more when it comes to social media, and if you’re unsure about a post, it’s likely better to just avoid posting it.
Following these tips can help you navigate the murky waters of divorce and custody proceedings in the social media era. And if you need additional support or resources, call Brown, Goldstein & Levy, a nationally recognized firm bringing decades of passionate, effective advocacy to the fight for justice across the legal spectrum.
For divorce and custody cases that require a family law attorney with proven experience dealing with difficult and complex cases, Dana McKee can be an outstanding addition to your legal team.
Dana chairs the Brown, Goldstein & Levy family law practice, and is formally trained in Collaborative Law. She regularly takes continuing legal education courses in mental health issues that pertain to divorce, custody, and litigation strategies. Her broad experience allows her to be sensitive to the family dynamics without compromising her abilities to obtain results for her clients.
Call Dana McKee at (410) 962-1030 for a consultation.