Divorce litigation can be one of the most emotionally stressful events of a person’s life. It can be even more difficult if you and your spouse have a contentious relationship or are fighting for custody of children. A court divorce case requires you to take extreme care with how you act in and out of court, and your Oklahoma City divorce lawyer can advise you on your specific situation.
Many people use social media on a daily basis. However, posting on social media can be used as evidence in any legal case. During a divorce case, there are many ways that using and posting on social media can harm your case, preventing you from getting an ideal custody arrangement or spousal support award. Understanding how social media can impact your divorce case can help you avoid these mistakes, but so can working with an experienced Oklahoma City divorce attorney.
How Social Media Can Affect Different Aspects of a Divorce Case
During divorce litigation, your spouse’s attorney will be looking for evidence to use against you in court, including reviewing your social media accounts. Posts about your divorce, your spouse, your children, your lifestyle, and anything else can all be used as evidence in court. These posts may impact several aspects of the divorce case, including:
- Property Division
When you are being divorced through the court, your property is divided according to equitable distribution laws. The court will review several factors to determine what is a fair division of your marital assets. This means that all marital assets must be disclosed to properly value and separate them. Additionally, the value of each spouse’s separate assets is one factor used to decide what is a fair division of assets.
Certain social media posts can be used to claim that you are hiding assets in a divorce. Spouses may hide assets to keep certain marital assets or to end up with more assets than the court would otherwise provide them. This is illegal. Social media posts about large purchases, far-away vacations, or expensive meals can be used by an attorney to claim you have more assets than you claimed in the discovery process. Claims of hidden assets can significantly lengthen divorce proceedings.
- Spousal Support
Spousal support is necessary for many individuals, both during the court case and after, to ensure financial stability. In Oklahoma, cohabitating with another partner may be a reason to end spousal support payments. Posting about a new significant other may be used by your spouse’s attorney to claim you do not need spousal support, as you have financial support from your partner. The court may agree and end the support or refuse to provide you with spousal support you may need.
Posts about expensive purchases can also harm your case for spousal support. An attorney can use them to show you have more than enough financial ability and, therefore, do not need support.
- Child Custody
When divorcing couples have children, determining child custody is an important and stressful part of the divorce process. When child custody is determined by the court, they will determine whether or not each spouse is able and fit to care for their children. The court makes all decisions regarding children based on a child’s interests.
There are many types of social media posts that can be used to prove you are unsuited to care for children. Photos of partying, drug use, alcohol consumption, or other behavior may be considered irresponsible for a parent. While a divorce is a stressful time, and it’s understandable that many people need to get out of the house, be careful not to post photos, and ensure that your friends do not post pictures with you in them.
Q: How Can Social Media Be Used Against You in a Divorce in Oklahoma?
A: Social media posts are usually an issue during contentious court proceedings. Your spouse’s divorce attorney will likely be reviewing your social media for information to use against you in court. Although you should not delete old social media posts during a divorce, refrain from posting new information and evidence that can be used against you.
Social media posts could contain proof of claims of reckless actions, large purchases, excess spending, infidelity, child neglect, or abusive conduct. This information can influence the judge to not award you spousal support, child support, and/or custody of your children.
Q: What Social Media Posts Are Bad During Divorce?
A: During a divorce case, avoid posting photos or information about:
- Partying, drinking, drug use, and gambling
- Excessive purchases, including goods and vacations
- Rants and complaints regarding your spouse
- Complaints about your children or being a parent
- Medications or medical problems
- A new significant other
Posts on social media about these and other topics can be used to create an image of you. Your spouse’s attorney can use them to say you are irresponsible, a bad parent, or that you do not need the spousal support you are requesting. It’s generally beneficial to not post on social media at all during a divorce case.
Q: Should I Delete Social Media When Going Through a Divorce?
A: No, you should not delete your social media accounts during a divorce, although deleting the apps off your phone, logging out, or deactivating the accounts may be a smart idea. Because information and posts from social media may be requested in discovery, deleting your posts or accounts could be considered destruction of evidence.
Taking less drastic measures, however, can be useful in preventing you from using social media throughout your divorce case. This is essential to protecting your interests, particularly in contentious court battles.
Q: Can Social Media Messages Be Subpoenaed for Divorce in Oklahoma?
A: Yes, social media messages can be subpoenaed during the divorce discovery process. For many social media posts, an attorney doesn’t need to subpoena them because they are publicly available. However, for private accounts or private messages on social media, your spouse’s attorney can request that you provide that information.
If you refuse, they can use the Request for Production of Documents in the discovery process. Trying to delete these messages may be considered destruction of evidence.
How to Handle Social Media Accounts During Your Divorce Case
It’s important to be careful with your online presence during a divorce case. Do what you can to avoid social media, and work to create a support group of people in your life who you can talk to about the divorce. Contact an experienced attorney at Stange Law Firm for legal representation and guidance in your divorce case.