People like to share information about their lives. Online social networking — a platform defined by sharing — gives people ample opportunity. But in some instances, people share too much. This is dangerous for those involved in divorce and family law matters. Adversarial spouses can follow the trail left behind by e-mail, posts, pictures and other sources to build their cases.
Facebook, Twitter and Blogs as Sources of Evidence
Putting information online opens the door for others to draw inferences that may or may not be true. What follows is a list of possible items to think twice about posting online, especially when involved in a divorce:
- Pictures of property and consumer goods: From cars, boats and homes to flat screen televisions, pictures of these things can create a false impression that may impact family law issues like spousal support payments.
- Pictures of friends and acquaintances: From evenings out to business conferences and vacations, inferences can be drawn that call into question the date of separation, infidelity and more.
- Blog posts: People typically use blogs as a platform to air their thoughts and opinions; negative or disparaging remarks about a wife or husband during a divorce or other family law proceeding can affect the outcome.
- Public and private messages: E-mails, wall postings, status updates, comments and other forms of communication — whether public or private — can all be used as evidence in court.
Marlene Eskind Moses, president of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (AAML), says, “divorce always results in heightened levels of personal scrutiny.” On Twitter, members “tweet” (i.e., broadcast) short messages of 140 characters or less on the Web, and according to an AAML survey, 5 percent of survey respondents cite Twitter as a source of electronic evidence. Sixty-six percent cite Facebook.
What this means is that whether it’s Twitter, Facebook or other social networking sites and blogs, the content generated on these sites is increasingly being used in the practice of divorce and family law — precisely because the information posted online is very personal in nature.
To learn more about how information on social networking sites may affect your divorce case, speak to an experienced family law attorney in your area.