Social Media & Divorce
Eighty-one percent of all recent divorce cases have incorporated some type of evidence from a social media site when presenting their case, according to the American Association of Matrimonial Lawyers (AAML). They further state that 27 percent of these divorce cases involve evidence from the parties’ personal social media pages, on which the spouses say harmful things about each other publicly. While texting, e-mailing, and utilizing social media sites have become commonplace forms of communication, and have undeniably made communicating quicker and easier, they can also pose a risk to people going through a divorce case.
Because these methods of communication enable people to post or send their thoughts in just a matter of seconds, they perhaps lead to a decrease in the amount of deliberation people undergo before publicizing their emotions. Divorce is generally a highly emotional and stressful time for parties involved, and it is entirely normal and understandable for spouses to exhibit anger towards each other. However, as Myra Fleischer writes in the Washington Times, people should assume that the judge in their divorce cases will read everything they “write, post, text, or tweet, and will read it in the harshest possible way.” As a divorce attorney, I can fairly state that the truth is, they often do. Once something is written down—in a text message or on the internet—it is subject to become evidence used in court, and it often will be used.
While this may seem like common sense, four out of five people end up having legal difficulties over something they wrote or posted, oftentimes in the heat of the moment. It is important for parties to a divorce to be mindful of the fact that anything they write down, whether it is in something seemingly private like an email or a public forum like Facebook, may end up being used against them in court.
In addition to those currently going through a divorce, this should stand as a wake-up call for all of us. Ultimately, the next time you begin to send a text or type a status, you may want to think twice before pressing submit. Take a moment to ask yourself, how comfortable are you with your next tweet being seen by the judge on your divorce case, or your last email, text, or Facebook post being incorporated as evidence in a future court proceeding?