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What Role Might Social Media Play in Your Divorce or Custody Dispute?

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Many of us almost reflexively share details about our personal lives on social media. A photo of a fancy meal out, a post about a “crazy weekend” in Vegas—these might seem innocent, but during a family court proceeding, such information can end up getting used against you by your former spouse. Learn about how Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram posts can be used in court, and exercise caution when posting about your personal life online during a court proceeding.

During a family court proceeding, your lifestyle and personal choices can all become fair game for the court to consider. The family court has to have a complete picture of your and your former spouse’s financial circumstances in order to make a fair division of assets, and a sense of how responsible and capable a parent you are in order to determine which parent should have custody. Any evidence of these factors is relevant to the court’s determination. So, if you’ve told the court that you need spousal support until you can get on your feet after a divorce, it would not endear you to the court if your former spouse presented the court with photographs of a fancy new car you’d recently purchased and posted photos of on Facebook. Likewise, if you presented a portrait of yourself as a reliable, devoted parent who would be home to spend time with the kids if you won primary custody, but your ex produced posts from your Facebook wall documenting your many late nights out on the town and frequent weekend trips away, this could make you appear to be a less reliable parent.

It can be tempting, after a split, to want to make your newly-single life appear on social media to be much more glamorous than it truly is, in order to make your ex see what he or she is missing. Even if you’ve blocked your former spouse from seeing your posts and made your account private, it can be hard to know exactly who will see the things you share. Never forget that you’re speaking to an audience of hundreds of “friends” when you post to social media, and don’t discount the possibility that someone who still has access to your posts could share what they see with your ex. Rather than going through and deleting everything you’ve posted that could possibly paint you in a bad light—if your ex has already seen an incriminating post, your deletion of it could be considered illegal destruction of evidence—exercise discretion in posting. Keep your personal life as private as possible, and ask that friends not tag you in posts while litigation is ongoing. Finally, don’t add people whom you don’t know. It isn’t impossible that a stranger requesting access to your posts could be an investigator attempting to dig up dirt for your ex’s case against you.

If you are in need of experienced, knowledgeable legal assistance with your Kentucky divorce or battle over child custody, contact the Louisville family law attorneys at Gwin, Steinmetz & Baird, PLLC for a consultation on your case, at 502-618-5700.


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