Unless you are stuck in the stone age, you are likely an active smartphone or a computer user. These little devices of modern convenience are packed with social media apps, pictures, and videos. With apps like FaceBook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, and YouTube, your posts, snaps, tweets, and videos may not be as private as you think and that can be very embarrassing especially if they impact the outcome of your legal case. There are some things you should keep in mind when it comes to your own posts, tweets, and videos while you have an ongoing legal matter. Before you make any decisions, it is important to speak with a knowledgeable New York family law attorney.
Cases involving modification of custody and visitation, refusal to pay child support, and order of protection all have similar pitfalls when you forget that your friends and family are not the only people who may see your post. Ex’s, employers, prosecutors or a trolling stranger, or even a member of your family you are not very close with enjoy creating problems. They are gleefully looking at an incriminating post that can cause real damage to your case. It may provide evidence to establish the existence of denied relationships, to show poor parenting skills or judgment, to support or refute an alibi, to show smoking or the use of other substances not normally associated with someone who is a law-abiding citizen and exemplary person.
We have seen posts used by an ex to show that the husband who could not afford child support wearing luxury items and on a trip to an exotic location. In another instance, people who deny drug or alcohol use generally would not post themselves wearing a t-shirt with a giant marijuana leaf and a blunt in their mouth. Would you? You may want to keep the following tips in mind:
- Set all your accounts to private.
- Think what would a judge, my ex, or my lawyer think if they saw this picture
- Consider setting up a Google alert for your name to keep track of anyone attempting to use it for malicious purposes
- Don’t post anonymously. With the right computer forensics and resources, those posts won’t be anonymous for long
- Think before you post
- Consider enjoying the moment or experience without social media.
Social Media Behaviors You Need to Avoid During a Divorce
It is best not to post anything on social media while going through divorce proceedings. It will ensure that even seemingly innocent posts are not misinterpreted and used against you in court. It is important that you exercise caution when using social media. You can protect your privacy online by avoiding certain behaviors.
- Negative comments about your spouse, or ex-spouse. Comments, threats, and criticisms can have a negative impact on a case.
- Deleting social media activity. People often think that deleting an online post makes it go away forever. However, social media activity can’t be permanently deleted. You can find any damaging content and use it in court. You can be charged with guilt for deleting the comments.
- Talking about new relationships. It is important to keep private any romantic relationship that occurs during divorce proceedings. The evidence could be used against you as evidence of an affair.
- Letting friends post about your life. It is common for friends to have opinions on your ex-spouse. However, it is best not to allow them to post them online. This information could also prove to be harmful to you when it comes time to go to court.
- Sharing your location. Some people like to check in at popular events. But, bars, casinos, or clubs can be problematic.
|Social Media Behaviors to Avoid during a Divorce
|Negative comments about spouse
|Refrain from posting negative comments, threats, or criticisms about your spouse or ex-spouse, as it may negatively impact your case.
|Deleting social media activity
|Deleting posts doesn’t guarantee their permanent removal; deleted content can still be used against you in court.
|Talking about new relationships
|Keep any new romantic relationships private during divorce proceedings, as they could be used as evidence of an affair.
|Letting friends post about your life
|Avoid allowing friends to post opinions or information about your ex-spouse online, as it may harm your case in court.
|Sharing your location
|Be cautious about sharing your location at certain events or venues, such as bars, casinos, or clubs, as it can be problematic.
Can Screenshots of Text Messages Be Used in Court?
Screenshots of text messages have the potential to serve as admissible evidence in the court, offering valuable insights into a person’s behavior and actions that can significantly impact the outcome of a legal case. Various forms of online content, such as social media posts and text messages, can be utilized to establish the existence of undisclosed relationships, demonstrate inadequate parenting skills or judgment, verify or dispute an alibi, or unveil the use of substances not commonly associated with law-abiding individuals.
For instance, if someone claiming financial incapacity to pay child support is seen flaunting luxury items and traveling to exotic destinations in their social media posts, these posts can be presented as evidence against them. Similarly, individuals denying drug or alcohol use may find themselves incriminated if they have posted pictures of themselves engaging in such activities.
To safeguard oneself during legal proceedings, it is crucial to exercise caution when using social media platforms. Taking steps such as setting your accounts to private, carefully considering the content you post, and setting up a Google alert for your name to monitor any potential malicious use can be beneficial. It is advisable to avoid making negative comments about your current or former spouse, deleting social media activity, discussing new relationships, allowing friends to post details about your life, and revealing your location.
Even seemingly innocent posts can be misinterpreted and used against you in court, so it is best to refrain from posting anything on social media while legal proceedings are underway. If you have any inquiries or require assistance with your legal matters, it is advisable to seek guidance from a knowledgeable family law attorney.