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Wheaton divorce lawyer social media evidenceIn the United States, social media usage is continuing to rise across all age groups, according to the Pew Research Center. The typical American uses at least three of the following social media platforms: YouTube, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, WhatsApp, Pinterest, and Snapchat. As virtually any lawyer will warn a client, it is best to stay away from social media during legal proceedings. This is particularly true for those going through a divorce or a child custody dispute.

Online Posts Can Be Used Against You

During the divorce process, social media can be used to uncover evidence that may be used against either party. For example, a father’s lack of judgment may be shown by an Instagram picture of him driving with an open can of beer in the car, or a wife’s extravagant vacation spending may be gleaned from a Facebook post. The former could be used to argue that the father should have limited parental responsibilities or parenting time, while the latter could be used to refute the wife’s argument that she does not have the means to pay spousal support.

Regardless of whether you are still living with your spouse or the two of you are no longer under one roof, you will likely want to reduce your social media presence during your divorce proceedings. In some cases, a social media post, comment, or picture may not be representative of your true character, or it may be taken out of context. This type of evidence can put you in a bad light, and it may be a factor considered by a judge when making a decision that is not in your favor.

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social media, DuPage County divorce attorneysThe internet has revolutionized the way we communicate with each other. Social media has allowed us to send and receive information about each other in the blink of an eye. Nearly 70 percent of Americans have at least a Facebook account. Although websites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram can be wonderful tools to stay in touch with friends and family, they can also become a significant responsibility during tumultuous times such as a divorce. If you are considering ending your marriage, you should know that social media activity can come up during a divorce. It is critical for anyone getting divorced to be intentional about what they post online.

Social Media Mistake #1: Oversharing Personal Information

For many married individuals, separating from their spouse leaves them feeling alone and empty. In order to vent their frustrations or express their grief about the marriage, they take to social media. This is a major mistake. Unfortunately, careless comments made by people getting divorced can and have come back to haunt them.  In one such case, a wife’s Facebook activity was used as evidence during a formal custody case. The couple shared custody of a 4-year-old child together. The husband alleged that the wife took frequent vacations without their child while she had custody of him. The court ordered the wife to show her Facebook profile. It contained many pictures proving that she frequently spent time away from her child during her allotted parenting time.

Social Media Mistake #2: Letting Your Emotions Get the Better of You

Going through a divorce can be incredibly taxing emotionally and psychologically. However, serious problems can arise when spouses getting divorced express those emotions online. Another example of a divorce case that was affected by Facebook is one in which a woman complained online, “My children have a really, really bad father.” The court considered this and other statements evidence that she would not support her children’s relationship with their father. The court awarded the father more parental responsibility as a result.

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DuPage County divorce lawyersWhen 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.

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social media, Wheaton divorce attorneysIn today’s digital world, we are rarely more than a few feet from our cell phones. For many people, social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram offer the chance to share their lives with friends and acquaintances. Critics of social media claim that many individuals use such sites to create an idealized version of themselves for public consumption—downplaying daily struggles and only highlighting positive achievements or “perfect” photos.

Social media can also create issues during a divorce. Some of these issues could affect the legal proceedings directly while others have the power to slow the healing process and prevent you from moving on. If you are considering a divorce or the process has already started, it is important to avoid:

Sharing Too Much, Too Soon

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Posted on in Divorce

social media, DuPage County divorce lawyerToday, social media is quite literally everywhere. Television commercials, movie trailers, product labels, and even roadside billboards list Facebook pages, Twitter handles, and Instagram accounts for people, brands, and companies. Of course, this is simply a reflection of the culture itself, as most of us know at least a few people who are quick to share virtually any experience to their social media feeds. When a person is going through a divorce, however, social media can present some unexpected dangers. If you are a regular user of social media networks, there are some things you should keep in mind during the divorce process.

Image Matters

Social media sites are appealing because they allow users to create sort of an alternate version of themselves. For example, a person’s Instagram account is likely to show photos of the user looking his or her best or celebrating an accomplishment. Rarely does someone post embarrassing stories or unflattering images. While most of us expect there to be some disconnect between a person’s social media persona and real life, the distinction can be especially problematic during a divorce. The biggest problem is the absence of context.

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