Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, LinkedIn: they’re all an unavoidable part of life these days. Sharing jokes, pictures, and tidbits of your life on these platforms is a normal routine for most people, and for the most part it’s a fun and harmless way to keep in contact with your friends and family.
However, making an ill-advised social media post can occasionally cause major problems. While it’s increasingly common to share your life online, it’s wise to put up some boundaries to avoid causing trouble down the line. This is especially true when it comes to separation and divorce proceedings. Social media posts are admissible in court, so if your marriage is coming to an end – or even if it isn’t! – exercise extreme caution when posting online.
Social Media Use While You’re Married
While you’re married or in a relationship, even if a breakup is nowhere in sight, it’s still very smart to be careful about what you post online. Always be respectful of your partner’s and children’s privacy, and make sure you’re both on the same page when it comes to what information is okay to share on social media.
If you’re having an argument or there are other problems in the relationship, confide in a trusted friend or counselor, but never share the details on social media. Not only is it unfair to your partner, but should the relationship end, your social media posts could be used against you. You don’t necessarily have to judge all of your posts by whether or not they could be used against you in court, but do use discretion and common courtesy.
Social Media Use During Separation and Divorce
If your relationship is ending, it’s even more important to be extremely careful about what you share online. Keep in mind that all virtual communication, including text messages and emails, is admissible in court. Your online posts and texts can even be subpoenaed. A good rule to abide by is if you don’t want a judge to read something you’ve posted, don’t post it.
Also, keep in mind that your online footprint is a potential goldmine for divorce lawyers when it comes to disclosing assets. For example, if one spouse reports low income, but then posts pictures of an expensive vacation or extravagant purchase, that can prompt a lawyer to dig a little deeper into their finances. Even LinkedIn, a network primarily used for job searching, can provide evidence: one attorney in Texas found a LinkedIn profile showing that one partner was running a business whose assets had not been disclosed. Always remember that it is far better to disclose all of your assets up front than for the court to learn later on that you were hiding something.
Potentially incriminating information aside, it’s also a good idea to set some ground rules with your ex regarding what is okay to share online. Even if you feel your ex’s boundaries are too restrictive, keep in mind that the situation is temporary and that it’s better to err on the side of caution while the divorce is ongoing. Make sure the two of you are on the same page regarding what is posted about your situation, including your assets and especially your children. In fact, it’s probably best not to post about your divorce proceedings online at all. Play it safe now so you won’t be sorry later.
Social Media Use After Divorce
If you and your ex don’t have children together, then in most cases you can make a clean break and your social media use won’t be affected by your divorce. However, if you do have children, it’s a different story, since co-parenting will require the two of you to maintain some sort of relationship. You may even stay connected to each other on social media, meaning that both of you will need to be civil and avoid saying anything nasty about each other for everyone to see.
Besides the necessity of staying on workable terms with your ex, keep in mind that just because the divorce is finalized doesn’t mean everything is set in stone, especially when it comes to custody of your children. Especially if you went through a difficult custody battle, be extremely careful about what you post, especially when it comes to your kids. If anything in your social media profile suggests that you are not providing adequate care for your children, it could re-open the case and start the battle over again. We’re not saying that you need to put on a show; just make sure that your kids are well cared for, and that your online communication doesn’t indicate otherwise.
Call Galbraith Family Law for Assistance
Here at Galbraith Family Law, we have plenty of experience with all types of divorces, and we can advise you on how your social media use could affect your case. To get in touch with Galbraith Family Law, you can fill in the contact form on our website or give us a call. If you live in the Newmarket area, call (289) 802-2433; if you’re in Barrie, call (705) 302-1102.