Before Facebook launched to the public in 2006, most people had never heard the term “social media.” Only internet nerds and computer geeks knew much about it. Fast forward to today and social networking is a large part of many people’s lives. It includes not only posting and sharing on Facebook but also on Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram and other internet platforms. Social media is changing how people communicate and interact with each other. It is even impacting divorce.
Divorce lawyers began encountering evidence garnered from social media websites about six or seven years ago. Now they see it regularly, and it can affect asset division, child custody, alimony and more. Keep in mind that privacy does not exist on the internet. A person might block his spouse from seeing his posts, but his spouse’s friend or co-worker might still see them. A spouse might delete his social media accounts, but a court can still subpoena them.
How can social media affect a divorce?
Alimony – One factor that can affect alimony is one spouse’s need and the other spouse’s ability to pay. As a result, a spouse might underreport his income in hopes of lessening his alimony payment. If he also boasts about a raise or bonus on social media, then the other spouse can use this as evidence to argue for more alimony.
Child Custody – A spouse might present herself as the parent best suited to raise the couple’s children. If she also posts social media pictures of herself partying with friends, then her spouse can use this to argue against her receiving custody.
Asset Division – Each party must disclose his property and other assets in a divorce so that the court can divide them in a “just and equitable” manner. If one party fails to disclose an asset, say a boat or new car, but brags about the item on social media, then the other spouse can use this as evidence of hidden assets.
If you are considering divorce, then talk to an experienced family law attorney to learn your options and best course of action. Please call our office to schedule a consultation..