Social Media Evidence Can Impact Your Divorce
After months or even years of unhappiness, you have finally decided that it is time for your marriage to end. It happens. In fact, it happens to about 800,000 couples every year in the United States, or about 2,200 per day, including weekends. If you are like many individuals, it can be very tempting to take to Facebook or Instagram in celebration of your newfound freedom. Others, sadly, turn to social media as an outlet for disparaging their partners, in hopes of finding support from friends and loved ones, or simply out of anger or spite. Whatever the reason, it is often best to limit your use of social media during your divorce to prevent potential unforeseen consequences.
Use of Social Media in Divorce Cases
According to recent study conducted by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (AAML), as many as 99 percent of family law attorneys have observed an increase in the use of text message and social media evidence in divorce and family proceedings in the last few years. Many divorce attorneys are even incorporating strategies for uncovering such evidence. What was once the territory of private investigators with cameras and notebooks is now often covered by voluntary posts on Facebook.
While discovering damaging information on social media, such as your spouse’s illicit affair, for example, may irrevocably destroy your relationship, Illinois law prevents a court from considering marital misconduct in most proceedings related to divorce. Spousal maintenance and property division concerns are not dependent upon the behavior of either spouse. However, there are subjective factors that can greatly impact your case, especially when children are involved.
Appearances Can Change Everything
Assume you have filed for divorce and, in your petition, you are seeking sole custody of your children. Once or twice a week, however, you go out with friends to local bar, as is certainly your right, but pictures get posted to social media on a regular basis showing you in various stages of revelry. It would be very easy for your spouse’s attorney to suggest to the court that you have an alcohol problem, regardless of how true or false the suggestion may be, and should not be granted sole custody.
Similarly, you may have discovered a substantial amount of money missing from a joint account subsequent to your separation. Although your spouse denies taking it, he or she soon posts pictures to Instagram of a “spontaneous” trip to Jamaica with a new romantic interest. The photos could provide grounds for the court to dig a little deeper into the circumstances, possibly holding your spouse responsible for dissipating marital assets.
Set Social Media Boundaries
If you are considering a divorce, an experienced Geneva family law attorney can help you develop a safe strategy for using social media outlets. We can help you decide whether to temporarily deactivate accounts or to severely curtail their use until your divorce is finalized. Our professional team will remain at your side throughout the divorce process to ensure your rights are fully protected and that you get the just, equitable resolution you deserve. Call 630-232-9700 to schedule your confidential consultation today.