Yes. It’s come to that. Postings on social media have found their way into divorce court. For instance, in 2011, according to a survey conducted by divorce-online, the word “Facebook” was found in one-third of divorce filings in 2011. One-third!
In our own attorney office, clients often mention that they discovered misrepresentation on the part of their spouse, or discovered that their spouse was cheating, by scrolling Facebook posts. We have used such postings as evidence in annulment filings with much success to disprove a Defendant.
Facebook has also been used to disprove a spouse who files a change in circumstances in an attempt to lower alimony or child support payments. Jeff (not his real name) tried to reduce his alimony and child support payments by filing a change in circumstance but Jane (his wife) found photos of him on a recent vacation in Hawai’i with his new love interest, along with posts talking about all the great places they visited and the great restaurants they ate at while in Hawai’i . It was difficult for Jeff to support his claim of new poverty when the photos and posts were disclosed to the court. In fact, impossible. He lost.
It’s definitely something to pay attention to: according to the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, more than 80 percent of U.S. divorce attorneys say social networking in divorce proceedings is on the rise.
Are you in, or about to embark upon, a potentially contested divorce or annulment? Do the following:
- Delete any compromising posts on Facebook. A photo of you at a once-a-year office party holding a cocktail and looking a little tipsy, and with a long list of “funny” comments from friends just below it, could turn into “s/he gets drunk all the time.”
- Have you been sending flirty texts, even just in fun to friends of the opposite sex? Delete!
- What have you been tweeting?
- Go through all and any photo albums you have online and delete any compromising-looking photos. Are you hugging so-and-so real tight? You might think, oh that’s just my platonic friend Paul/a, that one’s okay. No, not okay. Delete
- Go through all Facebook albums, photobucket, Instagram, just anywhere at all you have posted photos of yourself and look at them as if you were a judge in a divorce trial looking at the photos. What would you think?
- Go through your friends’ timelines too and ask them to delete any compromising posts about you.
- Go through your phone, and delete, delete, delete, any conversations except the most innocuous ones. Clients tell us every day how they got into their spouse’s phone and printed compromising texts…which we have used as evidence.
So, to reiterate, just go through each and every place you’ve ever posted anything online, go through your Facebook friends’ timelines. Bottom line is, DELETE anything and everything that could possibly be misconstrued. Sure, you could possibly discredit it later, but at what financial and emotional cost? One of the first things we tell a client about to embark upon a possibly contested divorce or annulment is, delete, delete, and delete, anything and everything with even just the slightest chance of being considered controversial. Did I mention DELETE?
If you want more divorce advice, or help getting a low cost divorce in Las Vegas, Nevada with quality legal representation, go to our Nevada divorce website.
Author: Attorney James E. Smith — http://nevadadivorce.org/about_nevada_divorce.htm