It is commonplace nowadays, for people to post, tweet and snapchat their daily activities. It’s a phenomena which has been referred to as “living out loud.” Don’t misunderstand, we enjoy keeping up with friends and family members just as much as the next person, but as attorneys, we also see the dark side of social media on a regular basis. This is especially so as it relates to marriage and divorce in our Michigan family law practice. The divorce attorneys in our Lansing office as well as our Oakland County office report the increasing presence of social media posts in their divorce and custody cases.
Social media can drastically change the outcome of your divorce case or custody hearing, and more often than not, it isn’t for the best. So here are the last (but not least) few items on our list of things to remember when it comes to social media and divorce:
A picture says more than a 1000 words can
Most people don’t even realize how the simplest things they post can be twisted around and used against them at a later date. Lawyers do a lot of that! For this reason, we advise you to be so very careful about what you choose to post online. Even the most innocent or unrelated post can be used by your spouse’s divorce attorney to cast you in a bad light.
Pictures of you out having fun with your friends or even having a simple cup of coffee with a friend of the opposite sex might look really bad when presented to the judge by your spouse’s attorney. Even pictures of things you purchased for your home or pictures that could be viewed in any way as sexual, can be used against you in a negative way.
After all, few judges are going to give primary custody to someone who has questionable morals, is already looking for their next relationship before this one is officially over, and can’t make sound financial decisions. Judges are required to make custody decisions based on whatever is best for the kids. So whatever images you post, imagine that your spouse’s divorce attorney is looking at them too, and imagining the worst.
Loose lips sink ships
Don’t berate your spouse online. Don’t trash talk them, blame them for your failing marriage, or complain about their personal failings. You may be entirely justified in your frustrations, but a lasting record of your anger may be just what your spouse’s attorney needs to prove that you are guilty of toxic parenting and should be denied custody!
In addition, anything that you say online in a public forum that isn’t accurate, could be misconstrued by a lawyer and used in court. If your soon-to-be-ex is feeling vengeful, you may find yourself in court all over your comments. .
Better safe than sorry
If you are in the midst of a divorce case, you would be better off taking a few minutes to change some of your social media settings as well as your habits. Stop checking in at locations and be sure to disable the setting that allows others to check you in as well. Don’t post pictures of yourself and disable the setting that allows others to tag you in pictures also.
Don’t change your relationship status, make sure that your Facebook posts are set to ‘private’, and don’t make any posts about your divorce or you spouse. If you want to make plans with someone, don’t post on their wall. Use private messaging to communicate with others and ask your friends not to make public posts that involve you in any way until your divorce or custody case is over. If in doubt, disable your social media accounts. You can always reopen them when the divorce is final.
We hope this series on divorce and social media has been helpful to you. If you have any other questions or concerns about your pending divorce or custody case, the experienced divorce attorneys of The Kronzek Firm are here to help you. We can be reached at 1 866-766-5245.