Social Media and Divorce Court: Think About Your Online Presence

Here is a telling statistic for persons in family law disputes who aren’t particularly careful about their social media presence: According to the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, online posts — mostly from Facebook — were introduced into evidence in about 80 percent of all divorce cases over the past five years.

We have mentioned the growing presence of Facebook and other social media tools in previous blog posts, and add an update here concerning how ubiquitous social media has become, with serious consequences for many people involved in child custody and other disputes.

The problem, experts note, is that users simply don’t understand that there is no clear dividing line between what they portray of themselves in public and what they reveal on social media sites. They think they have firm control over their posts and images, when in reality that is far from the case.

Which brings devastating results for some. “I saw a picture of a toddler in front of a coffee table with bags of marijuana, whiskey bottles and a big pile of money,” says a domestic relations counselor. Child protective services was called in to intervene.

In Georgia, a school teacher was forced to resign from her position recently after school authorities spotted a Facebook photo of her drinking alcohol on vacation.

The point that many people need to note, especially those about to divorce, thinking about divorce, or involved in a child custody dispute or other family law matter: What you write and what images you place online are quite likely to be examined and potentially introduced as evidence that could hurt you in court.

Not everyone is your friend on Facebook.

Related Resource: Mobiledia, “Facebook in Divorce Court” April 25, 2011

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