When you are in the midst of a divorce, it is understandable that you might want to vent your feelings and frustrations every once in a while. Some people in such a situation may confide in a close, trusted friend, but others turn to the outlets offered by social media—especially if they believe that the posts will be kept out of public view. Unfortunately, it is often possible for your spouse and his or her lawyer to use your social media posts against you. In the most extreme situations, an ill-conceived or poorly-timed post could even cost you money or time with your children.
What Does Social Media Include?
The majority of people are familiar with the most popular social media networks such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. There are, of course, many other sites and apps like Reddit, Snapchat, and WhatsApp that allow people to interact over the internet. For the purposes of divorce, the term “social media” can also apply to e-mail, text messages, and other forms of digital communication. Messages and photos sent or posted using a cell phone can be considered during a divorce, just as posts made using a desktop computer can.
Text messages, in fact, are commonly presented as evidence during divorce proceedings. Lawyers across the country have reported an increase in the prevalence of text-message evidence in divorces over the last decade or so. Text messages and e-mails are also more accessible than they once were. Cell phone companies and internet services providers are often able to provide copies of all messages to and from a given account if they are subpoenaed by the court.
What Is Admissible?
It is a common misconception that only obvious references to undesirable behavior can be used against a person during his or her divorce. This is simply not true. Inferences can be used and logic trails can be implied by attorneys and become part of the case’s record. For example, if you often post pictures of yourself partying and carrying on while intoxicated, the impression given by those photos could outweigh your claims that you are a good parent who provides a healthy, safe home for your children.
You should also be aware that deleting potentially problematic posts could land you in trouble with the court as well. The Illinois Supreme Court has established that a person could face consequences for deleting items from social media if the deletions are found to be spoliation of evidence. During a divorce—especially a divorce that involves children—each spouse’s character will be taken into account. Having embarrassing items on your social media feed is one thing, but deleting them could be seen as an indication that you are being deceitful. Allegations of deception and fraud could negatively affect your case and your ability to spend time with your children.
Call Us for Help
If you are considering a divorce, an experienced DuPage County family law attorney can help you avoid creating problems for yourself on social media. Call 630-871-1002 to schedule a free consultation at Andrew Cores Family Law Group today.