We are now in the age of social media. Folks are in the habit of sharing every detail of their lives, even during significant life events such as divorce. For attorneys, social media is a bountiful source of evidence. As a general rule, you should avoid posting anything about your divorce online. Heavy social media involvement of any kind during a divorce can only work against you. Of course, if your ex is committing any social media sins, you and your attorney can leverage that evidence in your favor. Below, we discuss some of the ways in which social media can be used to help, or to hurt, your divorce case. Call an experienced Englewood divorce attorney for help with a New Jersey family law matter.
Social Media Evidence Can be Used in a Divorce Case
Any evidence that can be legally obtained and that is relevant to your case can be used in your divorce proceeding. If there’s anything on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, or other social media platforms that pertains directly to your divorce case, then your attorney or your spouse’s attorney can bring that to the court. If you post something online, you have no expectation of privacy with regard to that information; it’s immediately public. In fact, the parties can request each other’s social media profiles as a source of evidence, and the attorney can even likely “friend” the other party to get access to a publicly-available profile.
Evidence of a New Relationship Can Hurt Your Case
It’s important to move on with your life after a divorce, and that includes dating new people. However, new relationships can affect your divorce proceedings. If you are cohabitating with a new romantic partner (meaning you live together or spend a large number of nights together), then your alimony award may be reduced or you may be denied alimony altogether. Social media posts can be used as evidence that one party has begun cohabitating with someone new.
Moreover, in a heated custody battle, proof that one parent has many people coming in and out of their residence, or that they are associating with people who appear violent, dangerous, or criminal, can be used to argue that their custody rights should be limited. Be careful of what you share about your life online while divorcing.
Bad-Mouthing Your Ex Can Hurt Your Case
Divorces are emotionally-charged proceedings. It’s easy to get caught up in the heat of the situation and fight. Publicly denouncing your ex, however, is likely to do more harm than good. It can be used to prove that you are not engaging in settlement or mediation talks in good faith, or that you are likely to be withholding evidence. If you are fighting over custody, publicly deriding your child’s other parent is likely to be treated as a mark against your parenting; children suffer when their parents bring them into their fights, which includes bad-mouthing.
Social Media Can be Used to Find Hidden Assets
Parties to a divorce are required to disclose all of their income and assets, both separate and marital. Hiding assets to avoid equitable distribution or to bolster your financial arguments regarding alimony or child support will only serve to anger the court and lead to penalties. Social media can be a great source of information to find out about hidden assets, wasteful spending, or other financial mishaps connected to the divorce. A post of a spouse driving a new BMW, taking a trip to Greece with a new partner, or exclaiming about an expensive gift can be used as evidence regarding that party’s finances.
Trusted Advice and Representation for New Jersey Family Law Matters
If you’re considering divorce in New Jersey or dealing with child support, child custody, property division, or other family law issues, contact the Englewood family law attorneys Herbert & Weiss at (201) 500-2151.