Social Media and Divorce
As a Pennsylvania Divorce Attorney I constantly come across the issue of social media and how it can and does play a part in divorces. I advise all of my clients to be aware of what they put out there on the internet for everyone to see. This is because all to often pictures, status updates and videos are used against clients in trials. In our family law practice, divorce evidence derived from social media is becoming commonplace. What people don’t realize is that seemingly harmless party photos and location-based status updates can jeopardize a person’s divorce settlement, resulting in the loss of child custody, parenting time or even alimony. The following advice applies to Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, Linkedin and even dating websites. Not surprisingly there have been numerous articles published on this topic. One of which can be found on The Huffington Post and is titled, “Don’t Let Social Media Sabotage Your Divorce.” The author of this article, Attorney Bari Zell Weinberger, Esq., lists three important steps that a divorcing party should take in order to avoid self sabotage.
1. “Think before you post.” Don’t post any pictures or comments that you know could come back to haunt you as evidence at a trial. Even if your posts are not used as evidence at trial, comments you make can often be used to anticipate your next move in court.
2. “Keep your social networking circles separate from your ex’s.” Keep your ex and his/her friends off of your personal site. You don’t want your ex or his/her friends to have the ability to gather any evidence that can be used against you. This includes mutual friends who often just can’t keep their mouth shut! Also, don’t “friend” anyone you don’t know. We once had an ex make a phony Facebook profile and our careless client accepted the friend request not knowing who it was.
3. “Don’t reveal your location.” If you’re not where you are supposed to be do not announce to the internet world where you actually are at all times.
Even if you follow all of the above precautions, remember, a judge could order you to provide all the information on your site to your ex. That’s right, parties in a divorce get to exchange information, even private information, if it is relevant to the case. Some judges are ordering that information and post on social media sites be provided to the other side. On the other hand, we tell our clients to check often the sites of their ex’s and friends. Very often this leads to useful information which can dramatically change outcome of the case. Should you live in the Pittsburgh area and are contemplating divorce contact us today. A Pittsburgh Divorce Attorney can assist you with tailoring your personal social media sites to ensure they cannot potentially harm your case.