June 21, 2019, In Divorce
Whether it is Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, social media influences many aspects of public lives. This includes everything from advertising to pop culture and maintaining contact with friends and family in good times and bad ― yes, even during a divorce.
Consider the number of people you are friends with on Facebook, or how many followers you have on Twitter or Instagram, and how many friends and followers each of those people have, too.
Think about all of the comments, images, memes, and videos you have posted on each of your social media platforms, whether it was while you were on vacation, or poking fun at one of your kid’s quirky behaviors. The moment someone views or accesses these posts and likes, comments, or shares the content, it now lives in a place for all the world to see ― even if you consider your privacy settings to be iron-clad. What’s more is that they can be saved for future reference, even if you delete the post altogether.
Now think about how these posts might affect your character during each aspect of your divorce case, whether the conflicting issues include spousal support, child support, or child custody in Los Angeles, CA.
How Can My Social Media Accounts Affect My Divorce Ruling?
While everyone’s divorce is different, the admissibility of social media activity is being used against divorcing couples every day throughout the United States.
When couples divorce, their combined and separate friends often choose sides, only wanting what is best for their loved one. Because of how people cope with their loved ones divorcing, you do not have to be friends with your soon-to-be-ex-spouse online to allow him or her access to your accounts.
Common friends and family members who have a connection to each of you will also have access to your social media accounts. And so do the attorneys.
This means s/he can view and save:
- Negative comments you are posting about your spouse or your ongoing divorce proceedings
- Pictures of you affectionately enjoying the company of another person
- Locations where you are spending your time ― including bars, restaurants, or venues where your children would not be allowed ― even though it is your scheduled time to be with them
- Records of expensive vacations, attending sporting events, and concerts, even though you have testified that you cannot afford to pay child/spousal support
Comments and images from social media can be used as evidence during divorce cases, and when it suggests or, worse, proves actions contradictory to your previous testimony, it is not looked upon favorably by court officials.
Attorneys Use Social Media Evidence in Divorce Cases Every Day
The latest proof of what we all believed to be true from the beginning comes from Web Preserver, a social media evidence preservation service, that collects data and digital evidence that delivers proof of authenticity compliant with Federal Rules of Evidence.
Their statistics reflect that as of the beginning of 2019:
- Over 30% of divorce legal actions are caused by affairs that were conducted online
- More than 60% of cases involving divorce use Facebook as one of their principal evidence sources
- Approximately 80% of divorce attorneys in the U.S. use social networking evidence during court proceedings to strengthen their cases
At WHITMARSH FAMILY LAW, our Los Angeles divorce attorney can attest to the power of social media when it comes time for the judge to rule on the case.
Recently we had the opportunity to represent an individual who was divorcing a spouse who was also a co-business owner. It did not take long to determine the spouse had taken complete control of the business’s social media accounts and began using them to cyber-bully our client.
To stop the harassment and damaging rhetoric, we filed a temporary restraining order against the spouse, and additional emergency orders to have the business’s social media accounts returned to our client.
Because these protective tactics were necessary and subsequently approved by a judge, they must now be taken into consideration when determining whether or not to award the opposing party spousal support, according to Family Code § 4320 and 4325.
If you are considering a divorce in Los Angeles, California, and are worried about how social media will affect your outcome, contact our Los Angeles family law attorney at (310) 552-3505 today to learn how your rights can be protected in court, so you can pursue the best outcome available for your unique case.