HOW SOCIAL MEDIA PRIVACY HAS A BIG IMPACT ON A DIVORCE CASE
This article looks at different scenarios where social media can have a major impact on divorce negotiations.
Most people don’t intuitively associate social media with divorce. However, as people’s personal and professional relationships increasingly play out online, social media is having a surprising and significant impact on a growing number of divorce cases, both before and after divorce. Below is a look at the link between social media and divorce, with a special focus on how privacy concerns on social media can ultimately have a major impact on divorce negotiations.
Facebook and the divorce rate
As CNBC reports, a recent study found that social media may have an impact on divorce well before the divorce papers are even filed. That study compared Facebook registration rates in all 50 states with those states’ divorce rates over the same period. While the researchers were unable to prove that Facebook use actually caused an increase in divorce, they did find that states that had a 20 percent increase in Facebook enrollment also saw divorce increase by up to 4.32 percent.
What is private on social media?
Social media’s impact on divorce also doesn’t end once a couple has decided to end their marriage. If anything, that impact becomes even more pronounced during negotiations around a divorce settlement. That’s because just about anything posted to social media can ultimately be used by the other spouse as evidence in a divorce case.
Allegations of hidden assets or fights over child custody are most likely to involve social media evidence. For example, Spouse A may post a picture of a recent Hawaiian vacation despite claiming to have few financial resources to provide Spouse B with spousal maintenance. Spouse B could use that post to argue that Spouse A may be hiding assets and is in better financial standing than he or she claims.
Likewise, Spouse B may post a picture of him or herself having drinks with friends. That picture could easily be misconstrued by Spouse A as evidence of a drinking problem and thus be used against Spouse B in a child custody hearing.
Furthermore, while many people assume that increasing their privacy settings on social media is sufficient protection against the above scenarios, that is rarely the case. Mutual friends of both spouses can easily share posts from one spouse to the other, thus ensuring that even “private” posts may ultimately become public. Rather, as WTOP News points out, for anybody going through a divorce the best course of action is to stay off of social media entirely.
Family law help
A divorce is about more than ending a marriage, it is also about dividing assets and, for many, ensuring that the children’s best interests will be protected in the future. An experienced divorce attorney can help clients build a strong case, including by advising them on how to handle social media during a divorce, so that they are well set up for life after divorce .