While people today are relying more and more on the internet as a social outlet, we are simultaneously experiencing a troublesome loss of privacy in cyberspace. Whether that text, post, chat, email or tweet is joyful news or a hissy fit, it flies off along some virtual superhighway and mysteriously finds its way to our friends as intended. Unfortunately, it gets captured along the way by all kinds of cyber-world entities we don’t even know.
And then it shows up in divorce court.
Social Media and Online Evidence
If it’s online, it can be evidence. And it can look quite different in the courtroom from what it really was or was meant to be. That innocent playful pose on the beach can easily turn into Facebook evidence of an affair under the glare of a no-nonsense judge. That cathartic tweet sharing a spiteful outburst about your ex can become cyber-proof of domestic abuse tendencies in the hands of your ex’s attorney.
What many people don’t realize is that social media is right up there with private investigators when it comes to collecting evidence against you in legal proceedings. A comforting daily romp through social media could very well interfere with your custody fight and wreak havoc on your divorce settlement.
Remember Public and Forever
Treat anything you post online as public and forever, even if you believe you are in a protected private conversation. Perhaps that friend you emailed shared your message with another friend – who happens to know your ex. Maybe you confided in your friends via texts when things started going awry in your marriage; then they sided with your ex when the split finally came. Even if you delete old messages, posts and photos, somebody else has them and with new technologies, they could well be retrievable.
Don’t write, post or tweet anything online you don’t want the world to see or hear. Picture a copy of your message or photo being handed up to a judge by your ex’s attorney. Emails, texts, tweets, posts and online photos are commonplace as evidence in North Carolina family law cases today.
The Good and Bad of Social Media and Divorce
Social media is a great evidence gathering tool for divorce claims against your ex. This is particularly true if what he or she says online is contrary to what he or she says in legal documents or in court. Social media activity can yield clues to your ex’s hidden assets, expose activities that reveal contradictory timelines or nefarious behavior and much more.
Keep in mind, however, that your ex is most likely heeding the advice of his or her attorney and is searching social media for information about you. During your divorce process, it would be best to limit your social media activities. If you must go online, be cautious and discreet. Adopt a savvy approach to the legal ramifications of internet exposure.