How social media can help or hurt throughout a divorce case

This article looks at three ways social media can affect a divorce case and how to avoid problems.

Social media is something that most people engage in so often that it has become almost second nature. However, for those going through a divorce, it is extremely important that they be very careful about what they are sharing online. Social media is playing a growing role in divorce cases, often having a big impact on decisions related to property division, child custody, and spousal support. Anybody considering getting a divorce should consider disabling their social media accounts and better understand how social media can both hurt and help their divorce cases.

Uncovering hidden assets

As Forbes notes, social media has become an especially valuable tool in uncovering hidden assets during divorce. Pictures and videos posted online can be submitted as evidence in court if those posts suggest that one party is in a better financial situation than he or she had stated to the court. For example, a former spouse may post photos of his or her brand new luxury vehicle shortly after claiming he or she was on the verge of bankruptcy.

Spousal maintenance

For similar reasons, social media can have a big impact on how spousal maintenance is determined. If one spouse claims he cannot afford to make spousal maintenance payments, but then posts a picture, for example, of his or her recent vacation to the Caribbean, then that picture, so long as it was obtained legally, can be used as evidence to show that that spouse is not being forthright about what he or she can pay.

Child custody issues

Social media doesn't just affect financial issues either. It can also have a big impact on child custody cases. When determining child custody, the court's one concern is ensuring that any custody arrangement is in the best interests of the child. Social media posts that suggest that one parent could pose a threat to the child, such as evidence of drug and alcohol abuse, could make a big impact on a judge's decision during a child custody hearing.

Handling social media properly

Simply being careful about what one posts on social media usually isn't sufficient protection during a divorce case. That's because friends and acquaintances could still tag one in posts or be snooping on one's activities and reporting back to the other spouse. While, as Fox Business reports, deleting posts is not a good idea and could even be seen by the court as destroying evidence, it is usually a good idea to disable one's social media accounts and avoid social media and similar sites entirely for the duration of one's divorce.

Family law help

Anybody who is going through a divorce should contact a family law attorney as soon as possible. An experienced attorney can help with the many complex issues that arise during a divorce, including with guidance about how to best handle social media.