I couldn’t believe it. I was just posting like I always do: pictures of food, friends, and activity around Fort Worth, Texas. Everyone I know is glued to social media to share their life with their friends and family. For me, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are the best way for me to stay in touch with old friends. There can be many risks you need to be careful about, especially if you’re going through a divorce. Don’t lose a divorce due to social media. Be careful about what you post on social media during divorce.
According to a 2010 survey conducted by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, over 80 percent of divorce lawyers saw increased use of evidence from social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter or Instagram in divorce cases in the years since 2006. 66% of divorce cases use Facebook as a primary source of evidence.
During my divorce, my ex’s attorneys used pictures I snapped at a bar to portray me as an irresponsible drunk. Then the attorney showed a family court judge the picture I shared of my new truck as I was trying to reduce my spousal support payments. I learned the hard way that anything you post on social media can, and probably will, be used against you in court.
I Shouldn’t Have Posted About Money Before My Texas Divorce
I am by no means wealthy. Like everyone, I occasionally splurge at a nice restaurant or dress to make myself look a little classier than I am. All of the pictures of me living above my means on Facebook and Twitter gave a judge the impression that I was hiding money. I needed to explain to everyone how my social media posts were just a fantasy version of myself. Or that it was just “one time”. That didn’t stop the opposing attorney who would use this evidence against me.
When you are involved in a Texas divorce proceeding, you will be dividing assets. If you have children from the marriage, you will also be figuring out child support. If you have a bunch of posts online on social networking sites showing yourself spending lavishly (or pretending to live in a higher tax bracket) you’ll see those pictures again in court during divorce cases.
And remember, the knife cuts both ways. Maybe you need more money from your ex-partner to feed and clothe the kids. Perhaps you are trying to reduce the amount of child support you pay. Either way, keep your rich and famous lifestyle off social media like Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram before, during, and after your divorce. Don’t post photos of new expensive clothes or new cars. It may affect your divorce case in many ways and unfortunately, anything you post on social media can be evidence.
I wish I had never posted on social media during my divorce. The worst feeling is losing a divorce due to social media content I posted months or years ago.
Don’t Post Dangerous Activities During your Texas Divorce
If you’re like I was, when you are going through a divorce in Texas, and you have children, you and your ex-partner will need to establish custody orders. If you are unable to agree on what to do, a judge will decide. The judge’s decision will be based on what they believe to be in the best interest of the kids.
In divorce cases, the court judge will consider evidence that both parties provide to reach a decision. If you are seeking custody of your children, then you should make sure your social media posts do not include items like:
- You and your friends out drinking every day
- Bragging about having frequent sexual escapades.
- Talking about hurting or killing yourself
- Speaking badly about your ex-partner or seeking vengeance against them
- Depicting anything that could be dangerous to your kids
These things might not seem like a big deal in the adult world, but I made too many posts that came back to haunt me. Of course, we are all allowed to blow off some steam every once in a while, but the judge in my case was not at all understanding of even the smallest risks to my children. There I was in court, watching a slideshow of a recent hunting trip with the kids. In one photo, I was carrying a gun and an open beer. In another, I was just playing around and holding my son over a campfire pretending to throw him in. It all seemed like good fun at the time. The judge didn’t think so.
Don’t Post Drama Before a Texas Divorce
Going through a divorce is a stressful process. Don’t be tempted like I was to post on social media during a divorce. Social media can add to the drama to an already difficult situation such as the end of a marriage. I made several passive-aggressive posts about my ex-partner, and they just made her and our mutual friends angry. When we went to court, she really came after me. The impact was that there was no way to have an amicable relationship or divorce after that.
If I were to do it all over again, one of the things I would do is to stay calm and try to keep things cool with my ex-spouse. Our marriage may not have worked out but that doesn’t mean that we can’t have an amicable relationship. Amicable ex-partners can calmly work together on a divorce agreement that meets the needs of both parties.
One of the lessons I learned from my family law attorney at Sean Lynch law firm was that I should always show compassion and empathy towards your ex-partner. If they hate you, they will fight you. And a fight during a divorce will only cost you more money and headache.
The last thing you want to do is also to post anything about a new relationship online for the world to see. That’s only going to make your ex-spouse angrier and they will fight you every step of the way during your divorce. In some courts, you can also lose a divorce due to your social media content.
The Role Of Social Media In Marriage Infidelity
One of the most common ways that evidence from social media is used is to prove infidelity during the marriage. Sometimes evidence of infidelity will also affect the outcome of divorce cases, such as marital property division and child support orders. Even online chats with other people that look innocuous can be used against you. There are many ways that social media evidence can be used against you.
People often don’t anticipate the impact of social media on marriage and romantic relationships. Social media has enabled us to meet more people and forge a relationship online. There are many cases of couples who got together after meeting on a social media platform.
Unfortunately, that can mean it’s easy for people to seek out another person they’re interested in even after getting married. 10% of people in a relationship admit to hiding social media messages from their partner. 8% admit that they have a secret social media account. Online affairs are also sadly becoming more common which is a breach of one partner’s trust.
Even a spouse who isn’t cheating may be subject to suspicion or jealousy from their partner because of their social media activities. People might feel uncomfortable about something they have found on the Facebook account of their spouse and start to become bitter and resentful. The effect of this may be increased monitoring and jealousy in relationships. Over time, concern over the social media activity and usage of a partner can chip away at trust in the relationship over time and impact the marriage.
Excessive Social Media Use Can Also Hurt A Marriage
Otherwise, conflict among married couples can often arise due to the excessive time spent on social media. This can have a negative impact on a marital relationship.
A full-blown social media addiction may have an effect on decreasing the time that couples spend interacting with each other and bonding together. According to a study published in Computers in Human Behavior, a link was found between social media usage and decreased quality of married life and relationship between partners. One in five people fight with their partners about social media use, according to another study.
Other times, social media may cause a person to compare their relationship to what they see about the relationship of another person on social media. This may cause a person to build up resentment over time due to the inability to meet idealistic standards in the relationship.
Your Private Posts Are Not Safe
You may think that setting your photos and posts on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram to private would keep any opposing attorney away. After all, you can’t comb through the content on your partner’s social media account to find evidence if they’ve made their profile private and blocked you.
However, you often have no control over what people who can see your profile posts will do with them. Not all your online Facebook friends may be discreet. If people share your Facebook posts publicly, it’s fair game – and this evidence may affect your divorce case. Most courts will not accept evidence that was obtained through illegal means, but content that people share publicly for the world to see may be held in court. You don’t want to lose a divorce due to social media evidence. Be careful about what you say online.
The award-winning family law attorneys at Sean Lynch will help you prepare for your divorce. We have decades of experience in family law and handling divorce cases. Contact us today to schedule a review of your situation at our law firm. We can help advise you on how your content on social media sites can affect your case and explore your options.