With the Internet, a wealth of information is available at the push of a button. This includes information about people via their social media pages. When it comes to divorce, separating couples should be very wary of social media. It can be used as evidence in court, potentially having a large impact on a divorce case.
The most commonly-affected aspects of the case are alimony, child support and parental responsibility.
Alimony and child support
Alimony and child support are awarded based on one party’s need and the other’s ability to pay. Alimony is awarded if one spouse will be at a significant financial disadvantage after the divorce, while child support is ordered to help uphold a child’s well-being and care after the divorce. Social media can affect how much payment is ordered if it reveals financial dishonesty.
For example, say one party reveals financial information in court that indicates they would have trouble making large child support payments. However, while the divorce case is in progress, they also post photos on Facebook of an expensive trip they recently took. Their child support payments might be raised because of this, since they were hiding their actual financial situation.
Parental responsibility, formerly called child custody in Colorado, is another big concern for divorcing parents. Many do not want to lose the right to spend time with their children or be a part of their life. Responsibility is awarded based on the best interests of the child, which usually means both parents remain active in the child’s life. However, it may not be awarded to a parent who seems unfit to raise the child.
For example, if a parent is seeking parental responsibility rights but then posts images of him- or herself drinking and partying when he or she was meant to be caring for the children, the judge may call his or her parenting ability and influence into question.
What to do about social media
It may be tempting to vent to friends online as you go through this emotional time, but it could end up hurting you in the end. The safest advice regarding social media during a divorce: Don’t use it.
Ask your family law attorney about how social media use can be used in court and what you should do next. Deleting past images or posts might be considered obstruction of justice or altering of evidence, depending on the situation. The best course of action is to seek legal representation and refrain from making social media posts until the process is over.