According to MarTech, there are 4.48 billion people worldwide who currently use social media. The average social media user engages with six social media platforms. Understandably, with so many people publicly posting about their lives online, social media is increasingly playing an important role in divorce cases. If you would like to learn more about the use of social media during divorce, consider contacting an experienced Georgia family lawyer at The Millard Law Firm by calling (678) 319-9500.
The Role of Social Media During Divorce
What you post on social media can affect your divorce. Your public posts could be used against you to show that you are publicly criticizing your spouse or acting inappropriately in a way that could impact your divorce or child custody. Georgia family lawyers can request information from social media accounts as part of the discovery process. According to the American Bar Association, information from social media accounts can be authenticated and used against the account holder as evidence.
Dos for Social Media Use During Divorce
Some things a person may want to do with his or her social media during divorce include the following:
- Increase security
- Limit social media use
- Block “friends”
- Reach an agreement about social media use
- Monitor social media use
- Seek help
Tighten up your security during pending litigation. To protect your information online, consider some of these strategies:
- Change your passwords
- Separate accounts from your spouse
- Get a new cell phone plan
- Increase your privacy settings to the highest level, but remember that this is still not foolproof to keep your former spouse out of your social media accounts during pending litigation
Limit Social Media Use
You may want to stop using social media completely while litigation is ongoing. If that is too much, limit your social media use until the divorce is finalized. You do not want to give evidence to the other side. By not posting anything, you remove this possibility.
If you accepted any recent friend requests or have people on your social media accounts that you cannot explicitly trust, block or remove them. Some of these may be dummy accounts created to gather evidence for your spouse.
Reach an Agreement About Social Media Use
You and your spouse may be able to reach an agreement about social media use and how it may impact your children. For example, you might agree not to discuss the divorce or post anything about your children on social media until the divorce is final. You can negotiate through attorneys if you are unable to have a productive conversation without help.
Monitor Social Media Use
Check the information that is already out there about you. If you can find it, your spouse’s lawyer can probably find it. Search your name online along with any aliases and social media handles. Also, monitor friends’ accounts for any photo tags that you may want to remove.
If limiting your use of social media is difficult, find a trusted friend who will let you speak freely in private conversations. This friend can also provide a layer of protection by reminding you not to post certain things for everyone to see. Additionally, consider seeking help from a knowledgeable Georgia family lawyer at The Millard Law Firm who can offer advice about what to do with social media during divorce.
What Not To Do on Social Media During Divorce
What not to do on social media during divorce can be just as important as what to do. The following guidelines can help during what can be an emotionally difficult time.
Do Not Post Anything Negative About Your Spouse
Many people use social media to get a sense of comradery with others who are going through similar life events. You may have even joined an online divorce support group. However, it is important that you do not publicly speak ill of your former spouse. Even if your child does not currently have access to social media, the court may find that, if you publicly disparage the other parent, you may be more likely to do so in front of your child. The child may also later find the public criticism by using or viewing someone else’s social media account.
In addition to your own restraint, you may also want to advise family members not to say anything negative about your former spouse or discuss the divorce. Make these requests clear so the judge will not think that you condone this behavior. Additionally, if family members are called to witness in the divorce case, it may be difficult for them to appear objective if they have a history of bashing either spouse.
Do Not Post Anything Inappropriate About Yourself
Before posting anything online, think about how it might appear to the court. You do not want to do anything that may look bad to the court. Some examples of things to consider avoiding include:
- Pictures taken while partying, drinking alcohol, or doing drugs that may negatively impact a child custody case
- Comments, posts, or pictures of new purchases when the marital property is being divided or support matters are unresolved
- Comments or pictures of a new paramour or comments about dating
- Posts about engaging in any illegal behavior
Do Not Allow Others To Post Anything Inappropriate About You
Just as you need to monitor your own social media profiles, you must also check to make sure you are not tagged in any illegal, inappropriate, or immoral pictures or stories by online friends. Asking friends not to post will usually be enough, but if someone posts something inappropriate, you can remove tags or ask the friend to take down the post.
Do Not Share Intimate Pictures
Avoid sharing, posting, or publishing intimate photos or videos of your spouse. Even if your spouse cheated and you want revenge, do not open yourself up to potential criminal charges by posting intimate pictures without his or her consent. Additionally, avoid posting similar photos of yourself.
Do Not Reveal Privileged Information
You have the right to privileged communication with your attorney. However, if you share this information with someone else, you waive this right.
Do Not Speak Poorly About Someone Else Involved in the Case
Avoid talking about anyone else involved in the case, including:
- The judge
- The other attorney
- A mediator
- A custody evaluator
Do Not Use Social Media at Work
Avoid using social media at work. Employers own the devices and often require employees to sign a document stating that any communications can be monitored. Employees, therefore, do not have any reasonable expectation of privacy.
Do Not Delete Social Media Accounts
Finally, though you might be tempted to delete your social media accounts when going through a divorce, this could be seen as an attempt to cover something up or destroy evidence. Therefore, it is important to not delete any social media accounts except on the advice of an attorney.
Contact an Experienced Family Lawyer for Help Today
Can social media be used against you in a divorce? Should I delete social media when going through a divorce? If you have these or other questions about using social media during a divorce, consider contacting a knowledgeable family lawyer from The Millard Law Firm by calling (678) 319-9500 to schedule a consultation today.