Instagram, Facebook, Tiktok, Snapchat—the list of prevalent social media apps grows longer by the year. While it’s a great way to share your life with loved ones and stay connected, it can also be your Achilles heel during a divorce. Find out the many ways that social media can affect your divorce case, and when you’re ready to discuss your legal needs in greater detail, call Wilkins, Bankester, Biles & Wynne at 251-928-1915 and set up a consultation.
Proof of Infidelity
Remember, infidelity can sink your divorce case. If a divorcing spouse’s social media has proof or evidence of the affair that ended their marriage, they could be giving away part of their share of the marital estate. Alabama is one of just a few states that allow fault-based divorces, and an affair is one of the permitted grounds for divorce. Photos, location tags, sappy status updates—they can all work against the poster.
Hidden assets are a big fear in many divorce cases. While most people with hidden assets go to great lengths to actually hide them, some people are a bit more careless. A boat purchased with hidden money, expensive “gifts” given to family members (only to be returned after the divorce is final), and cryptocurrency are fairly commonly seen on social media. It’s easy for a divorce attorney or angry ex to screenshot these posts and use them to prove hidden assets, or at least give a forensic accountant a starting point for finding them.
When parents divorce, they should put their kids first and strive to maintain a positive co-parenting relationship with the other parent. Unfortunately, this isn’t always how it works out. When one parent thinks that they have more rights to their child than the other parent, they may stoop to new lows to damage the other parent’s relationship with the child.
Parental alienation is often sneaky and difficult to track, but some parents make it easy to uncover their plans. Parents with a need for validation may post to social media about how terrible their ex is and what an unfit parent they are, which is concerning on its own. However, it’s not parental alienation.
But if they go on to post about negative things their child has said about the other parent, how they have encouraged or supported those statements, and other evidence of their efforts to destabilize the relationship, that could really hurt them in court.
What about when one parent actually is putting their child in danger? This, too, is often found on social media. Someone who has no trouble exposing their child to drugs, drinking, and dangerous activities is likely to be friends with people who have the same beliefs. They may then share photos on social media for laughs and upvotes from their friends. These types of posts can be devastating to a parent’s custody case.
No matter how carefully they try to cover their tracks or lock down their privacy settings, it is all too easy for a determined parent or attorney to get access anyway. With evidence of unfit parenting, the other parent can make a case for primary or sole custody.
Protect Your Social Media
In some cases, social media can be helpful to your divorce case. If you discover useful information about your ex or gain some footing in your case, you may have some leverage. On the other hand, your own social media activity could harm your divorce case.
Even if you don’t post anything incriminating or outright inappropriate, it is very easy for your words and photos to be misconstrued. Don’t be surprised if you see your ex’s attorney taking your posts out of context or otherwise looking for proof that you are unfaithful, an unfit parent, or hiding assets from their client. Limit your social media activity during divorce and double- or triple-check posts before hitting the “post” button.
Discuss Your Family Law Case with Wilkins, Bankester, Biles & Wynne