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Leave Your Divorce Out of Your Facebook Status

by / Tuesday, 28 August 2018 / Published in Divorce, Family Law

Whether updating a Facebook status to call out an ex-wife, or tweeting raves about a judge’s decision, people use social media platforms to tell the world about their lives… and their divorces.

But before you decided to post to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or any other social media, there are some things you need to know – namely how it could potentially affect your divorce and the judge’s decisions.

Leave Your Divorce Out of Your Facebook Status

It’s so easy these days – when you’re in the midst of a frustrating situation – to just go to Facebook to vent. If those frustrations have anything to do with your ex, or soon-to-e ex, you might just want to consult a family law attorney before posting your rant.

Social Media as Evidence in Divorce Court

Social media can be a valuable source of evidence in family law cases involving divorce, child custody, and child support and visitation. It’s not uncommon for people to assume that their Facebook posts, tweets, Instagram photos and other social media activities are more private than they really are. Though people are becoming increasingly more aware of the fact that social media is not as private as they thought, people still continue to post information they otherwise would have never volunteered. This information includes financial affairs, adultery, improper parenting, and even dangerous or illegal activities such as drug use. It’s all been seen on the internet, and it all still continues to be seen on the internet. 

“Privacy” and Divorce

Many users of social media believe their pages are “private” and thus should not be able to be used in a family law battle. In previous cases, people have claimed that their Facebook profiles should be excluded from judgment or as evidence because they are only shared among a small group of Facebook “friends.” Yet courts continue to reject this argument, determining that there is little to no reasonable expectation of privacy with regards to actions taken on a social media platform. Even creator of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, has stated “privacy is no longer a social norm.”

It’s important to remember that while you can control your privacy settings, the information can still be easily shared. Sometimes parties going through domestic law cases “un-friend” the opposing party. Even then, information can still be shared through mutual friends and family members who are still able to see whatever you post. The information can also still be requested by an attorney. In previous cases such as Offenback v. Bowman, Barnes v. CUS Nashville, LLC, and Largent v. Reed judges have privately reviewed information to determine if information should be disclosed in a case.

Deleting Information

You or your ex-spouse might try to hide evidence by deleting it. But this can be dangerous too. Intentionally deleting information can be legally seen as the destruction of evidence. This can cause even more legal trouble in court. In the case of Lester v. Allied Concrete Co, the court fined both the defendant and his attorney for removing harmful posts and pictures on a Facebook page.

But how did they find out?

In our current social media age, it’s not uncommon for lawyers to take to social media to gather evidence when they are first hired for the case. Often times this means an attorney has social media information long before a person has time to delete or conceal the information. When this evidence “goes missing” and that fact becomes evident in a court of law, the deletion can have larger consequences than the original evidence.

How to Deal with an Ex

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If your ex is continually bashing you online, try to focus on other things. Maybe it now the chance to prove you’re the bigger person by ignoring them.

Here’s some advice from those who have been through it before:

“Here’s my advice: Ignore it and consider the source. Giving him any satisfaction that he’s affecting you will only empower and embolden him to continue his childish tirades. Rise above it all, and show your daughter how a real adult behaves.”
– Diane D.
“The best revenge is to live a happy life. Remember when he bashes you, he is suffering. Smile and enjoy your freedom from this unkind man.”
– Maggie Z.
“I unfriended everyone we had in common, not in life, but on Facebook. I also blocked my ex and his now-wife and people that I knew to be an issue. It didn’t work all at once. It was a gradual change as I never responded to anything they said and I never said anything about them, but over time it seemed to work. And I really don’t care now. His reputation was very important to him, so he went to great lengths to make sure everyone that knows him thinks I am horrible. I just avoid those people and focus on my own life.”
– Heather P.
“I copied everything and printed it. I did block him after that. Judge was NOT happy about it. Of course we are civil now and different than we were over two years ago. But it is unacceptable behavior and it just makes him look horrible to the judge and mostly himself. Someone that bashes an ex like that on social media is a terrible friend to have. People start seeing the terrible side of him and his immature ways. Ignore it, copy EVERYTHING, then block him. Worked well for me.”
– Nichole S.

To Remember

It’s important to remember that just like in a criminal investigation, anything that you say can– and likely will – be used against you. This is especially true when a court is deciding how to award custody of children. If your Facebook wall is filled with images of you partying, chances are the court might take this into consideration. The same goes for if you use your Facebook wall as a way to voice concerns and your irritation about your ex-spouse’s short-comings. A court wants to know that you are capable of taking care of your children and being able to raise them in, ideally, a co-parenting situation.

Consulting a Therapist

If you really feel the need to vent your emotions, you might consider working with a therapist. They can help you work through feelings of sadness, anger, guilt, while also providing an un-judging ear. Best of all, everything is guarded under a patient-therapist agreement which means that they cannot share your feelings. This can be a great way to talk through your emotions without involving anyone else, while also receiving the emotional support that you might be searching for when you vent online.

Consult a Lawyer

As with anything regarding your divorce: child support, spousal support, marital property division, child visitation, etc… you should consult a family law attorney. A lawyer from the expert law firm of Khalaf Law Group will be able to guide you through the divorce process. The Divorce & Family Law Offices of Ted Khalaf will provide you with the highest level of expertise and professionalism from our skilled attorneys. Our Divorce and Family Law Practice spans a wide spectrum of areas that include: divorce, high net-worth divorce, marital property division, child custody and visitation, and child support.

Ted Khalaf, Esq.

Khalaf Law Group

33 S. Catalina Ave. Ste. 202

Pasadena, Ca. 91106

(626) 478-3550

https://bestdivorcelawyer.co

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