Facebook Peril: Social Networking Sites During Divorce


Social networking sites are a staple in today’s world.  From Facebook to Instagram and Periscope to Twitter, social networking sites are a constantly growing chasm of private information into which individuals constantly store some of their most private and intimate thoughts.  One important aspect to remember, however, is that social networking is exactly what it says: networking.  Regardless of whether you label certain content as “private” or “friends only,” that same content can easily be obtained by third parties without your knowledge or permission.  In a divorce proceeding, this information can often be the difference between proving an argument and having your secrets exposed.  Here are a few simple thoughts to keep in mind when delving into the social networking arena during a divorce:

1.  Stay off of social networking sites.  Let’s face it, certain individuals have a hard time not speaking their mind.  There is nothing wrong with speaking your mind, but it is probably in your best interest not to speak your mind about your ex-spouse during an ongoing divorce.

2.  Nothing is private.  Labeling information as “friends only” does not stop a third party from seeing certain information through a mutual friend’s account.

3.  Once you post online, you cannot delete the information.  Ok, you can delete the information, but in the digital age, everything you post online is available for almost anyone to view the moment you post the information.  With computer tools and cameras to capture your every word once you post online, everything you post can easily be recorded or saved for later viewing (or use at trial).  If you have the urge to post something, use this quick tip: write it down in a letter and re-read the post to yourself.  If you think a judge would find the post damaging to your case, do not post the comment.

4.  If you plan on using social networking sites, limit your internet presence.  Limit yourself to one social networking site.  No one needs to Twitter, post on Facebook, and update the world with Periscope videos all at once.  The fewer social networking profiles you have, the less chance of a social networking blunder occurring.

5.  Be prepared to talk about your profile in court.  This is something that every person should always expect.  If you have a Facebook account, Twitter account, or any other social networking account, expect the other party to bring this up in court.  Be prepared to talk about the photos you posted at 3:00 a.m. with you and Joe “hanging at the bar” while your husband was at home with the kids.  Be prepared to explain why you and Jessica were “shopping downtown” while your wife was out of town.  Anything you post will come up during court and you need to inform your attorney of any potential issues you might need to address.

In today’s fast pace world, social networking is the future, but with any future there are always risks.  At the Sellers Law Frim, we understand the complexities of social networking and how social media is effecting the area of family law.  Give us a call today for a consultation or drop by the office.  Your friendly neighborhood law firm is always here for you.