By now, every adult should know that what you put on the internet can come back to haunt you. This is especially true during a divorce, where mutual friends and former family members can leak incriminating evidence when you least expect it.
When you are contemplating divorce, it is a good idea to clean up your social media profiles and make sure that you aren’t leaving anything that could be used against you in a custody fight or other divorce battle. Some of the most common reasons social media posts get dragged into family court include:
Lying About Assets
Washington is a community property state, which means that any assets or income which a person earns during a marriage belong to both partners equally. In some cases, the partner who makes more money is less than thrilled with this arrangement, and will attempt to get rid of or hide some of his or her income.
Much of this plays out in social media, where Facebook posts or tweets about lavish vacations or new car purchases become evidence that there may be income or assets that were not disclosed in the couple’s financial affidavits. If your ex or your ex’s friends and family suddenly seem to have expensive tastes, these social media posts are a clue that not all income has been disclosed.
Drug and Alcohol Abuse
Whenever children are involved in a divorce case, the former couple and the judge will examine each person’s home situation, and decide living arrangements based on the best interests of the children.
If one parent has a drug or alcohol problem, photos of partying on Instagram or Facebook statuses about wild weekends out can be used as evidence that that parent cannot provide a safe environment for children.
Be aware that these photos can work both ways—even if you rarely drink, one weekend out could be used to prove that you are not as dedicated to your children as you would have the judge believe.
Finally, most social media programs have messaging systems where parties can communicate with each other directly. Always assume that these messages, like text messages and emails, can be used against you in a custody case if you attempt to intimidate or threaten your former partner or your children. Try to limit your conversation with an ex to respectful, relevant conversations rather than engaging in bickering or fighting online.
With so many opportunities to communicate with the people all over the world every day, it can be easy to forget that your “private” social media accounts are never really private, and the actions that you choose to share with the world can hurt you in a divorce case if they are perceived as unsavory or irresponsible.
At Pacific Northwest Family Law, we understand the urge to lash out at your ex, which is why our goal is to help you put the past behind you by negotiating a divorce agreement that fits your needs. We will work with your former spouse on your behalf so that you can focus on creating a new and better life.
For a consultation with one of our experienced Washington divorce attorneys, contact us today by calling 509-572-3700.