Facebook Evidence in Divorce: Five Tips for Protecting Yourself
A 2010 survey conducted by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (AAML) concluded that 81 percent of divorce attorneys had seen an increase in the use of social media as evidence — with Facebook topping the charts at 66 percent. In the more than two years since the disquieting AAML survey, Facebook has grown to 955 million monthly active users. Chances are your spouse and the friends and family of your spouse use Facebook. Following are five tips for Facebook use during your divorce.
1. Consider everything you post to be public
Consider everything you post on Facebook as public information. With one click of a button, your photos and comments can spread exponentially until it falls into your spouse’s hands and then into the court file. In addition, a court has the authority to order you to release deleted and private postings to your spouse.
2. Do not post your party photos
Flirting with new friends and enjoying a few drinks may be harmless activities as you transition into your single life, but photographic evidence of your partying can be damaging. Even innocent photos can be misconstrued and used against you by your spouse.
3. Vent to your friends, not your Facebook page
Although your spouse may really have cheated on you or behaved badly in other ways, Facebook is not the appropriate forum to vent your frustrations. Your angry tirades — no matter how justified — can be twisted to your spouse’s advantage.
4. Resist boasting
Along with divorce comes the freedom to buy and do what you want without asking your spouse’s permission. However, your purchase of a new boat, car or vacation home may diminish your argument that you cannot afford to pay financial support or that you need your spouse to pay you alimony.
5. Update your privacy settings
Facebook allows you to control how much information you share with the public. However, although updating your Facebook privacy settings can protect you, the adjustment does not guarantee your spouse will not get hold of your postings.