The American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (AAML) found that increasing numbers of attorneys are relying on social networking evidence in their cases. According to their records, about one in five cases cite Facebook. Social media has been used to determine a person’s state of mind, and show evidence of actions, time and place and communication between people. Take Jack for example. He claimed he couldn’t work due to his disability, but pictures on Facebook proved otherwise. Sandy posted defamatory comments about her ex and those were used against her in court. Jill posted pictures of herself with her boyfriend, then was found guilty of an affair because of the date of her photos.
If you refuse to stay off social media, Badali and his partner Andrew Taylor, provide these 8 tips:
- 1) If you choose to keep your social media pages active, be vigilant in monitoring them. Remove any compromising photos or comments that others post about you or tag you in.
- 2) Privacy settings. If you don’t know how to lock them down as tightly as possible, now is the time to learn.
- 3) Be careful of what is in the “private” portion of your Facebook page, too (messages, etc.). There are judges who have ordered the parties in a divorce case to exchange usernames and passwords to each other’s social media pages.
- 4) Change your Facebook password to something your ex would not guess. It’s possible that a vindictive ex could log into your social media profile, make damaging posts in your name and then use these posts against you in court. Sound fictitious? It happens
- 5) Resist the temptation to vent about your ex on social media. Whether it’s an intentional slight or not, anything you post on social media can be used against you in a divorce proceeding. Tread carefully.
- 6) Stop checking in. There is nothing more damaging to parents claiming they cannot pay child support as when they “check in” at an expensive restaurant or airport to leave for a vacation.
- 7) Be especially sensitive to the awkward position your mutual friends are in when a couple is breaking up. It may sound harsh, but sometimes “unfriending” mutual friends – not just friends of your ex – may be the safest option until the divorce is finalized.
- 8) Remember the basic rule of all social media. Before writing a post, making a comment or sharing a photo, think to yourself, “Would I be comfortable if millions of people – not just those in my personal network – saw this?” When in doubt, don’t post.
Bottom line, think before you post! And remember, when you are defaming your ex, he or she is the parent of your child/children. What kind of an example does that set for your children?