Hottest News on Social Media

Divorce Attorneys Using Social Networking Profiles As Evidence In Contested Divorce Cases

Social networking sites such as Facebook, MySpace and Twitter are intended to act as online communities where people can publically share information about themselves and connect with others.  Many individuals choose to share photos or comment on their day-to-day activities but may not realize that information posted on social networking sites can be used as evidence against them in a family court of law.  But not surprisingly, a recent survey indicates that 81% of attorneys have seen an increase in the use of Facebook and other social networking sites for evidence in divorce cases.

In messy divorces or custody battles levels of personal scrutiny are often heightened.  During family law disputes, it is not uncommon for parties to dig deep for any bit of evidence that portrays the other party in a bad light — needless to say, that the evidence can be used against them.  Two common examples?  How about a father who claims not to have the financial resources to pay child support, yet posts photos from a recent vacation or mentions an expensive purchase.  Or an an alcoholic who vehemently denies the charge, but has myriad photos taken with drinks or in bars posted to their profile.  This type of evidence, obtained from social networking sites, is becoming more and more common in family court.

Most divorce attorneys would recommend deleting any public profiles when involved in any legal proceedings.  Not only are parents and soon-to-be-ex-spouses advised to delete their public profiles, but keep in mind that information from your children’s profiles can also be used in family court, so you might consider deleting those as well.  All in all, if you are entering an adversarial situation, whether because of a divorce or otherwise, keep in mind that just about anything posted to the web, including emails you might think are personal, can be used in court.

Jeff Ringo is a noted legal author and lecturer. He currently focuses on Family Law and Employment Law in Atlanta, GA.

Posted in Social Media News. Tags: , , , , ,

8 Replies

  1. Just one more example of how technology is becoming big brother and the information age is leading to the death of privacy. For me it’s pretty scary…

  2. This is indeed worrying. Every one must realise that social networking sites are not meant for poking privacy of others.

  3. Joseph Yu Nov 12th 2010

    What the author is getting at that most people seem to be missing is that the “Best Interests Of the Children” are the key element of a custody dispute not “privacy”. Shocking that people are more concerned about “privacy” of what they are doing and it being exposed in court especially if what they are doing is NOT in the Best Interests of Their Children.

    When there is a custody dispute there is no privacy. The best interests of the children should trump (and often does in many countries) the “privacy” of parents.

    When children are involved. There is no privacy. Even if an award of soul custody is in place the other parent has full access to school, health and other records. Why not access to the crazy and insane things that people for some reason post on social media sites?

    I don’t get the whole need for parents to post on these sites. Be a parent. Spend time with your kids and not your computer. Your kids will love you for it.

    This evidence could be used to demonstrate a “change of circumstance” that requires a motion. Say like a ex posting “Moving to city Y” on their social media site without even notifying the other parent. This would require a motion to prevent a very ugly “mobility” issue.

    Welcome to the reality of divorce. If you wanted privacy you should have stayed married and worked out your issues as you spouse wouldn’t be concerned with what you were writing.

    Being divorced is worse than being married if you are addicted to social media and can’t help yourself from posting about how much you drink and who you are exposing your children to.

    Google “Best Interests of the Children” some day. Read some books. Children trump privacy. Parents should be open and honest even in divorce.

Leave a Reply