It is safe to say that most adults use some form, if not many, of social media. It keeps friends and family informed, helps with networking for business, and is entertainment at your fingertips. This is all great, but when you are going through a divorce, you may wonder what your social media activity can affect. It is also possible that you wonder what the information you gain from your ex-spouse’s social media can affect. In this blog, we will briefly explore some downfalls for both you and your soon-to-be ex with social media use. Also, we provide some tips on how to continue using social media, as staying “off” may not be an option for you or easy to do.
The first question you have may be, “is it even possible to use social media activity and posts in my divorce in Indiana?”. The answer to this is a resounding “yes”. It has become common practice for things such as Facebook posts, or twitter comments, or even screenshots of Snapchat photos, that one thought “disappeared”, to be used in a divorce proceeding. Literally, a photo of drug use (such as smoking a joint) may cause you to lose your custody case. It is also commonplace now for text messages to be submitted into a divorce proceeding. All of this leads to things such as hidden assets being found, false financial information being discovered and so on. Affairs that may not have initially been known to be relevant to the divorce if it relates to the dissipation of assets, all found out by simple social media use.
The most important thing to remember about social media, while going through a divorce, is that a “friend” is not necessarily always a friend. This means that private posts or even private messages are not private. Couples often have mutual “friends” online. These “friends” do not go away or choose a side and “unfriend” the other spouse. There are always people who want to know it all and like the entertainment of another person or people going through events or drama. These “friends” will relay any and everything posted. This can work in your favor, just as much as this can work against you. This also means that something as simple as a photo posted could give others and even your ex enough to find out where you are traveling, who you go with, when it was, any new belongings or purchases, and how you are spending your money and time.
The other downfall of social media is in the ease of access to communicate with your soon to be ex. This is an immediate form of communication, and often people are very impulsive with their comments, or instant messages. Unlike email where a person sits down and intentionally composes their thoughts and has time to think things through before hitting send. Comments or instant messages are usually sent as a response and in the heat of the moment communication in this short, immediate form can get complicated, ugly and cause huge problems for you. In that same regard, you may be the recipient of reactive posts from your soon to be ex. This is a time to remember you should be saving and getting screenshots.
The final form of social media that needs to be carefully considered while going through a divorce is dating websites. Even if both parties to the divorce are moving on, what is posted to online profiles on these sites can also be used in the divorce proceedings. This means that yes, you want to put forth your very best on the profile, any information about jobs, possible income, lifestyle, activities and so forth, can all be used to show assets and finances. All of this could run the risk of contradicting what you have presented to the other party and their counsel as well as to the court. That would not work in your favor.
Overall it is in your best interest to keep social media use to a minimum or do not use it at all. Do not post personal information, and especially do not rant and rave about your divorce or the other party. Do not trust everyone who is a “friend”. Remember that mutual friends are not always neutral parties or may accidentally cause some trouble for you based on what they see, and relay based on your social media use. Finally, remember to not act on impulse and contact the other party via social media.
If you find yourself in a situation where you are either currently going through a divorce or need to prepare for the event of one, Ciyou & Dixon, P.C. attorneys can help answer questions and guide you in the smart and safe ways to continue utilizing your social media accounts. Ciyou & Dixon, P.C. attorneys practice domestic relations law throughout the State of Indiana and understand the significance of social media use and its effect on your divorce. We hope this blog assists you. This blog post is written by Ciyou & Dixon, P.C. advocates and is not intended as specific legal advice or a solicitation for services. It is an advertisement.