Can My Social Media Posts Affect My Divorce Case?
Let’s run through an increasingly common scenario in domestic litigation. You make an offhand comment about your spouse on Twitter, or go on an angry rant against your baby’s mother on Facebook, or post an embarrassing photo of him or her on Instagram. Perhaps you have an extensive collection on Pinterest demonstrating your belief that fathers should never be awarded custody of young children.
Such online indiscretions can be like gold to litigators. By making negative or hostile comments about the opposing party, you may be inadvertently providing their attorney with an easy (and often abundant) source of direct evidence to counter your claims. Or you might simply have a large online “footprint” that turns out to be harmful to your case because it puts some aspect of your general character in an unfavorable light. Many people have an expectation of some level of privacy in their electronic communications, and are surprised when an impulsive comment made months or years ago resurfaces to haunt them.
Remember that the Internet is, by its very nature, a public forum. No matter what your privacy settings are, or who your intended audience is, you give up control over anything you post online as soon you’ve done it. There are myriad ways, both legal and technological, for unintended third parties to access information in your social media accounts. The court system has rapidly modernized and now embraces what it refers to as “e-discovery,” or the process of obtaining relevant evidence through technological means.
So if you are, or anticipate being, involved in a divorce or other family law proceeding, think very carefully about what you put out there – it may come back to bite you.