Social Media: The Impact it Can Have on your Divorce
St. Charles Divorce Attorney
When you are going through a divorce, you have a lot of responsibilities on your plate. Aside from securing legal aid and putting together a budget for your divorce, you need to be vigilant of how you continue to conduct yourself at work, with your children, and in online spaces. All eyes are on you during your divorce, particularly if it is a contentious divorce and your spouse is attempting to sway the court’s decisions about parenting time and responsibilities, child support, property division, or spousal maintenance. Although adultery is not, on its own, an issue to be considered when determining spousal maintenance or property division in Illinois, it may be considered if marital funds or other assets were used to facilitate the affair.
While your divorce is pending, be careful about what you post and how you conduct yourself on social media. You might even want to consider staying off social media altogether until the divorce is finalized. Content and images from your social media accounts can be used to support claims made in court. Tell yourself this before you make any post or comment to determine if the comment or post can come back to hurt you later.
What you Post on Social Media can Make you Look like an Unfit Parent
Some people choose to drink alcohol with friends. Others might frequent bars or clubs when with adult peers. None of these actions make you a bad parent, but when they are taken out of context, they can paint you as one. Your former partner might try to use your social media content to support a claim that you frequently drink alcohol, use drugs, or lead a promiscuous lifestyle that can have a negative influence on your children.
Badmouthing the Court or your Spouse on Social Media can Make you Look Uncooperative
Although you probably have a lot of things to say about the divorce, the court, or your spouse, say them in person or over the phone during private conversations with friends and loved ones. Do not broadcast anything about your divorce or your former partner on social media. How well a parent interacts with the court and complies with court orders is considered when determining his or her parenting time schedule and what you broadcast about your former spouse can show a lot about your character and your discretion. Keep your conversations on social media neutral and pleasant.
Social Media can Skew the Court’s Perception of your Assets and Spending Habits
If you claim that your small business is not profitable, yet show yourself out to dinner and engaging in expensive hobbies regularly on social media, the court might not believe your claim. Always be truthful about your financial health and do not sabotage your claim by contradicting it on social media or elsewhere. Just like scenes from your social life can be taken out of context to depict you as an unfit parent, they can also be used to make claims about your current financial situation.
Your Messages are Admissible in Court
Social media content is admissible as evidence in court. Your emails and text messages are also admissible in court. The difference between these, though, is that emails and text messages that are obtained through unauthorized access to an individual’s phone or computer are generally not admissible in court. Social media content, on the other hand, is posted publicly and thus can be used as evidence in a divorce case.
Making your New Relationship “Facebook Official” Can Lead to Difficulties in your Divorce
If you are cohabitating with a new partner, you can void your right to collect spousal maintenance. Likewise, spending money on a new partner before your divorce is finalized can have an impact on your property division settlement. You may be advised to not start dating again until your divorce is finalized, but if you do choose to do this, keep it off social media. Announcing your new relationship to your contacts, many of whom have contact with your former spouse, is simply asking to complicate your divorce settlement.
Work with an Experienced St. Charles Divorce Attorney
If your marriage is over and you are ready to file for divorce, contact an experienced Kane County divorce attorney to begin the process. If you have questions about any aspect of divorce, such as specific instances of citing social media in your divorce proceeding or what you can expect in the months that follow your divorce’s finalization, a divorce attorney has the answers you need. To start this discussion with a member of our firm, contact Shaw Sanders, P.C. today to set up your initial consultation with us.