Social Media and Divorce Settlements
How a simple slip can destroy negotiations
As adults, we tend to be more dismissive about the consequences of our sharing habits, but this can have an adverse affect on your divorce, custody or support case. Many emails, tweets, and status updates can change the course of what could have been a simpler divorce settlement process.
Support Payments and "crying poor"
Over-sharing details of a "new life" can easily become fodder for an ex to request or modify support calculations. Being "tagged" in the group shot in Miami can really skew the outcome of a support case.
Also, consider others' behavior on social media and how it can affect negotiations. It is easy to receive an innocent "congratulations" for a recent raise or promotion. Has this fact been denied in Court or at a conference? Whether via a friend or self-promotion, clients' social media sites may end up exposing lies and cause serious legal consequences.
Text message, "Exhibit A"
Texts and tweets have become an extension of our speech. Many are not aware that the information found in texts and emails can all be admissible in Court. It is easier to lie through text messages or avoid a hostile conversation by texting or emailing, but be wary that anything written can be seen by a Judge. If that information conflicts with any legal documents or statements in Court, there will be serious consequences.
Generally, divorce attorneys advise clients to keep written communication to a minimum for this reason. If writing a scathing or "therapeutic" email or status update seems like a good idea - don't hit send. Save it as a draft and come back to it tomorrow with a clear head.
Know the Network
Blocking or unfriending a handful of people may not be enough to eliminate the possibility of sabotaging a peaceful divorce settlement. After accruing many shared friends, it is possible that one or two people may keep in touch with the ex. These people may have not have direct contact, but when that person interacts with your posts, the ex may become privy to anything.
A post by anyone can expose large expenditures, sales of marital assets, or the return of items "sold" during equitable distribution. A friend can easily and innocently mention one of these things on social media and change the course of a divorce settlement.
What to do?
Social networking can play a positive role in moving on with life; however, a misleading post can take communication from good to bad, or bad to worse. Either become more mindful of messages, research privacy settings, or go cold turkey until everything is settled, because even a client with nothing to hide and good intentions can create troubled waters during divorce settlement.
Don't rock the boat by falling victim to silly social media behavior. For information on how to handle divorce settlement, contact our office to speak with an experienced divorce attorney, (215) 942-2100. Feel free to complete an inquiry form and a member of our team will contact you shortly.