Social media is pervasive in today’s culture. We simply can’t put down the phone or close the laptop anymore without checking in on what our neighbors and friends are up to. We are itching to share our latest achievement or our latest complaint. But what about when parties are involved in a divorce? Social media may seem like an acceptable place to vent, but it is vital to remember that once something is on social media, the likelihood that it can ever really be deleted is slim to none. Furthermore, parties in a divorce have a duty to preserve what could become evidence. Before posting on social media, parties in a divorce should think, “Do I want the judge to read what I wrote?”
Social Media Statistics
According to Forbes, approximately 4.9 billion people use social media globally. In fact, the average American has seven social media accounts and spends nearly two hours on social media each day. With just the swipe of a screen, most Americans reach a massive platform of other users. Up to 39% of Americans who use social media feel it is addicting. However, the instant gratification of posting to vent to friends simply isn’t worth the added stress of dealing with the ramifications of posting negative comments about your spouse online.
How Social Media Can Affect A Divorce
Posting negative comments about a spouse on social media during divorce will not make the difficult and emotional divorce process any easier. Judges will not approve of disparaging comments that a child could potentially see or that could impact a potential witness. Many attorneys will instruct their clients that it is prudent not to post about their soon-to-be former spouse on social media. In larger counties like Dallas or Collin, courts may have standing orders (orders put in place when a party files for divorce) to refrain from making disparaging comments about the other party in the presence of a child or to refrain from speaking in an offensive manner regarding the other party on social media.
Additionally, when a party becomes involved in a divorce, the party has a duty to preserve evidence. It is not uncommon for one party to ask the other for a copy of his or her social media profiles during a divorce proceeding in the discovery process, which makes it required to be produced if requested and there are no proper objections to the request . Even posts that have been deleted from social media are fair-game and can show up in the profiles downloaded from various social media platforms. If a party knows he or she posted something negative about the other party, it is best to bring that to the attention of his or her attorney so that they can handle it in a manner that will have the least impact on a case.
It is important to remember that a divorce is a stressful and emotional event for both parties, and social media posts made in the heat of the moment may add further stress. Parties should keep in mind that anything they post on social media might be used in court and proceed cautiously with what they share online.
Consult with a Dallas Family Law Attorney
If you have questions about this article or a family law case, contact the divorce and child custody lawyers at Epstein Family Law at 972-232-7673 to consult with a skilled Dallas family law attorney. We handle divorce and child custody cases in counties throughout the Greater Dallas area, including Dallas, Collin, Denton, Tarrant, Ellis, Rockwall, Kaufman, Johnson, Grayson, plus other counties throughout Texas.