A [Facebook] picture is worth a thousand words- or at least it can be in divorce litigation. Social media has increasingly played a role in divorce cases over the past several years. It has become a goldmine for uncovering information -- whether it was social media sleuthing that uncovered the infidelity which caused the divorce, or if a Facebook search served as the mechanism for locating the defendant to serve them the Summons and Complaint, the integral role platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter play cannot be ignored. In fact, service of process via Facebook has even been deemed as an acceptable service alternative in some unique cases.
We all know that social media can have far reaching effects. Most people have experience with how social media platforms affect their relationships- both positively and negatively. While platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter allow you to share in the experiences of friends and family who you may not get to see very often, if used incorrectly, social media can be quite disruptive to many aspects of a person’s life. Thus, it is important to be aware of the possibility of any negative implications by participating in social media during a pending divorce action.
In addition to many social media accounts being widely accessible for public viewing, social media postings may also be subject to discovery in litigation. This means that even if you think your usage settings are privatized, parties in a divorce action may be required to exchange postings, photographs, and other material published on such platforms if deemed relevant to the action.
Depending on the types of posts and updates you may publish, social media postings can have a detrimental effect on aspects of your divorce case, including but not limited to child custody disputes, equitable distribution awards, and spousal maintenance. For example, photos of heavy drinking and partying could possibly be later used in the litigation in an attempt to portray you as an unfit parent. Photos evidencing a luxury shopping spree or driving your expensive new sports car could possibly be used to suggest hidden assets. In addition, it is best to not discuss your pending divorce on social media, nor use the platforms as you would a personal journal or as a sounding post to speak badly about your ex.
Every divorce situation is unique. If you use social media and are considering divorce, or have already commenced a divorce action, it is a good idea to speak with a matrimonial attorney who can discuss with you any adverse effects your usage can have concerning your specific case.
The Law Office of Jessica M. Semins is available to handle matrimonial and family law matters throughout the five boroughs of New York City, Long Island, and Westchester. Call to schedule a consultation (646) 397-6844. Consultations are by appointment only. Locations in Manhattan & Long Island for the convenience of clients.
Attorney Advertising. The content herein is not meant to be construed as legal advice, nor form an attorney-client relationship.