What not to do on social media during a divorce
The use of social media, which includes texting, e-mails, YouTube, Facebook, Craigslist, Twitter, Tumbler, comments, Snapchat, Instant Messenger, flicks, Pinterest, Instagram, and LinkedIn, has become almost the main way people communicate not only information but often explicit pictures and videos of how they live their lives. While this can be interesting and often entertaining, it can also provide a “not so private’ inside look at a person’s lifestyle, viewpoints, and even their physical appearance. While there is a sense of privacy for most of the social media in that you must be “invited” to view another person’s postings, that person can then share your postings with another person, not on your list of “friends”. And so, the sharing of social media can go on and on, often being viewed by someone you would rather not share with.
While most sharing is harmless though sometimes annoying, there are times when you don’t want specific postings to run the risk of being seen outside your private list of friends. Going through a divorce is definitely one of those times. Courts are increasingly allowing evidence found on social media to be used as evidence for such concerns as, who a person was seen within a compromising situation, the lifestyle of a spouse, for example, who claims little income yet brags on social media of “the new boat”, and pictures of a spouse at a wild party on a night when he or she was supposed, due to sickness, to be unavailable to care forecourt-ordered child timesharing. Evidence provided by social media postings can and is used by a judge to help determine such outcomes as alimony, equitable distribution of assets and debs, child support, and parental timesharing.
Every state has its guidelines and rules governing the use of social media evidence in the divorce courtroom. As an example, in Florida in a landmark case in January of 2015 Court of Appeals Judge Gross wrote “Because information that an individual shares through social network websites like Facebook may be copied and disseminated by another, the expectation that such information is private, in the traditional sense of the word, is not a reasonable one”. His ruling allowed social media evidence to be used to help prove the accused guilty, thus setting the tone for the use of social media as evidence in Florida courts.
Essentially it is best to stop using social media during divorce proceedings. It is a good idea to discuss the use of social media with a Family Law Attorney in your state of residence before a divorce petition is filed. If you live in Palm Beach, Martin, St. Lucie, Miami-Dade, Broward, Orange, or Hillsborough counties in Florida or New York or Washington DC, Family Law Attorney Grant Gisondo offers a free, initial, in-office consultation where he meets with clients personally to answer their questions and provide information about his services. At the time of the consultation, the subject of how social media affects divorce proceedings in Florida can be discussed. Attorney Gisondo’s office hours are Monday through Friday from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM and on Saturday for new clients from 8:30 AM to 1:00 PM. His office number in Palm Beach Gardens is (561) 580-4568 to call for an appointment.