In our previous article we introduced a few facts about social media and it’s effects on both marriages and divorces, that you would do well to consider. Moving on, we’re going to look at the next few items on the list, and discuss what our Oakland County Family Law attorneys think you need to know about this very important subject.
Social media can and will be used against you in an Oakland County court
Okay, so no one is going to read you your Miranda rights in divorce court, but that doesn’t change the fact that your social media activity may will play a vital role in your divorce proceedings. Because Michigan judges consider the behaviors and activities of spouses when determining how to assign custody, and in some cases even assets, during a divorce, you would be better off not having a record of your indiscretions.
For example, if a wife can prove to the court that her husband made a regular habit of hiring prostitutes to relieve “work tension” on the way home, the court could consider the husband to be ‘morally unfit.’ Michigan law says that can affect custody of your children and/or the distribution of the marital assets.
If that happened, the direct result of this is that because the mother is now considered to be the primary caregiver, the child support payments that the father will be required to make will be substantially larger than if the parents had joint custody. So it is worth remembering that your social media accounts can actually be used against you in court. There are so many other ways that we divorce lawyers use social media postings in divorce / custody cases throughout Metro Detroit and especially in Oakland County.
Not all your friends are really your friends
Most people are pretty savvy these days. They are at least aware of the fact that their spouses and ex spouses can spy on them via their social media accounts. For that reason, many people choose to unfriend or block their spouses once they choose to get divorced. That makes you safe, right? Wrong. Because not all of your friends are actually your friends.
Most married couples have numerous mutual friends. This is perfectly normal and healthy. But during a divorce, this could come back to bite you! Most mutual friends will attempt to remain friendly with both spouses during and after divorce, not wanting to appear as if they’ve picked a side. But many do, and that can get you into trouble. Snitches!
Friends who are more loyal to one spouse than the other can become funnels of information for the blocked or unfriended spouse, passing on pictures, location check ins and posts that can be damning to a divorce proceedings. So if you are engaged in a divorce, discuss your social media accounts with your attorney. Get advice about what to post and what to keep private, as they will know all of the details about what could negatively impact your case. Assume that your spouse, your spouse’s attorney and your judge will be reading all of your posts.
Public vs. Private – getting them mixed up could cost you
It may be obvious, given what we just talked about, that making the wrong things public can cost you a lot in your divorce, there is another side to this issue. And it’s much more serious, because it involves possible criminal charges!
While it can be very tempting to check your husband’s Facebook account to see exactly who he’s sharing private messages with, or sneak a peek at your wife’s private Twitter account because you think she’s cheating on you, it may not be lawful! Believe it or not, there are laws in Michigan about what private information you may access if it belongs to another person and you do not have their permission.
Before trying to read your spouse’s emails, hack their social media accounts, or log into their online games, check with your Michigan divorce attorney. Best practice is to stay off your spouse’s accounts; that means all of them. Proving that your spouse is an unfaithful liar may be satisfying, but it isn’t worth a trip to jail!
Join us next time as we wrap up this three part series on social media and relationships. You won’t be disappointed, we promise!