When Texas marriages involving significant financial holdings and the potential for alimony come to an end, the parties often hunker down and prepare for a courtroom battle. They expect a high asset divorce to focus on the money, not their Facebook pages. However, in this age of technological advances, electronic communications and social media, they should make sure that their Facebook pages, Twitter accounts and other electronic forms of communication are ready to be scrutinized by attorneys and judges.
Many Texas residents might think that simply deleting anything from their social media, text and email accounts that might be misconstrued will solve the problem. Unfortunately, it might only make things worse. First, by doing so, an individual potentially creates an appearance of impropriety even if there is none. Second, much of what people do online is never truly deleted — or private for that matter.
So what should a person do? The piece of advice most often given is to take an internet vacation, which removes the temptation to post something that could be used against him or her in court. It might be enough to simply refrain from posting anything derogatory about the other party, restrict what is posted about the individual and avoid any posts that might give the impression that money is being spent frivolously.
Change passwords and security questions and make the security on social media accounts as strict as possible. Open a new email account. Remove sharing options from calendars and other accounts that sync to many devices and turn off the location services as well. Of course, any activity up through the filing of the divorce remains fair game, but there are often signs that a marriage is ending. From that moment, an individual should begin guarding his or her online activity.
Going through a high asset divorce has enough challenges. Individuals do not need to provide cannon fodder to the other party. Even seemingly innocent posts or photographs can cause problems in a courtroom where much of what goes on has to do with perception.
Source: Forbes, “How is electronic data handled in divorce?“, Jeff Landers, Dec. 22, 2016