With the increase in social media usage by persons of all ages, there has been a plethora of research published about the effects of social media on a marriage. Indeed, researchers have observed that social media usage is associated with unhappier marriages and higher divorce rates.
And not only may using social media excessively have an effect on your marriage, but on the divorce process, too. Consider the following about how social media can affect your divorce-–
Divorce and Social Media – What You Need to Know
If you thought that your social media activity was completely private and wouldn’t have any effect on your divorce, think again.
- Social media – texts, emails, messages and more are a type of evidence. The first thing that you should know is that anything that you do online or electronically, from uploading a photo to sending a text message to receiving an email and more is an activity that can be tracked; your electronic footprint is very difficult, if not impossible, to erase. All of the above are types of evidence that very well may be used against you in a divorce case to show that you were having an affair, spending recklessly, engaging in unfit behavior for the purpose of a child custody case, and more.
- Social media and your finances. In a divorce case, your soon-to-be-ex-spouse may very well use social media evidence to prove to the court that you are a) hiding assets, b) wasting assets unreasonably and recklessly, or c) engaging in another behavior that could affect the financial-related aspects of your divorce. For example, a picture of a brand-new car during the divorce can be used against you (you shouldn’t make financial changes mid-divorce), as could a trip that you took somewhere. Even worse may be pictures of you with another partner, especially one where you are gifting them with something or spending large sums of money together. Also remember that it’s not just what you put on social media, but things that your friends and family members post that are related to you that can be used against you.
- Social media and your child custody case. When making a decision about the custody of a child, an Illinois court must consider the best interests of the child and the parental fitness of each party. If there are photos or other evidence on social media that suggest that you are unfit or irresponsible–such as pictures of your affair or of you getting wasted on the weekend–the court may find that it is not within the child’s best interest to reside with you.
Advice for Navigating Social Media During a Divorce
It can be tempting to think that as long as you’re careful during your divorce and don’t post anything that’s obviously ‘bad’ online, you’re fine to continue using your social media accounts as normal during your divorce. However, our lawyers find that even something seemingly innocuous can be used against you, and therefore recommend temporarily suspending your accounts during the divorce process, and at the very least ensuring that your passwords are secure and that your profiles are set to private.
To learn more about social media and divorce and to secure legal representation through the process, call our Naperville divorce lawyers at Fay, Farrow & Associates, P.C. today for your initial consultation.