Social media has become a huge portion of our lives – from sharing our daily activities, funny anecdotes, photos of our families and our food, friends and colleagues get a glimpse into your private life that they otherwise would not have access to.
During a divorce, navigating social media can be tricky. Making a post in the heat of the moment can have a lasting impact on your case, and on your family. Below are some tips to avoid common mistakes when using social media during divorce.
Some couples share social media accounts and passwords, and can easily get access to one another’s information. Consider whether there are any incriminating messages, admissions, or other contact you wouldn’t want your spouse to see. Even if you don’t share a password or account – could your spouse guess your password? Do they know the answers to your security questions? Consider changing passwords, security codes, and adding two-factor authentication to accounts that provide it.
If you’ve left the “family” computer at home – is it logged into your email account? Other social profiles? In addition to changing existing passwords, you may consider opening a new account. Having a new email account can help ensure your spouse does not gain access to communications you don’t want them to see – including correspondence with your divorce attorney.
Sharing an update on your life is exciting – you want to share your happiness with your friends and family! But if you’re going through a divorce, posting that photo of you on a “girls night out” or engaging in other social affairs can make the wrong impression in court. Consider the timing, content, and background of any photos you are posting – could a judge get the wrong impression?
Social media has provided an outlet to let out our frustrations at everyday problems – from the traffic on your way to work to the bad service you had at lunch. But any remarks you make about your spouse or your case can have a negative impact on you. Avoid posting anything directly, or even indirectly, about your spouse. Even “vagueposting” can be used against you in court. If you’re frustrated about how the court system works or that your spouse is paying less than you think they should – stay away from ranting or making other negative posts about the situation.
While you may be considering the photos you post – are you also keeping an eye on your social media friends? For those with mutual acquaintances, this can be a tricky area to navigate. While you and your spouse may no longer be friends on social media, they can still get access to your photos or posts that have you “tagged” by a mutual friend. Ensure your friends understand your limitations on social media during your case and avoid being “tagged” anywhere you don’t want a judge to see.
Maybe a friend reached out over messaging to see how you are – and you’re having a rough day. Keep in mind anything you write in messenger, email, or other apps can be saved, downloaded, or screenshotted and used against you later. Sometimes a mutual friend may be trying to help your spouse get information, or an admission, that could be used against you later.
It seems so innocent – you can just log in to your spouse’s account and find out who they have been messaging. You just want answers! But getting access to your spouse’s phone, email, or any other accounts that have an expectation of privacy could be a violation of federal wiretapping laws. You could be held liable for civil penalties if you go too far. It’s best to get the advice of an experienced Virginia family law attorney before trying to access communications from your spouse – there may be a legitimate, and legal, way to request documents or communications as part of your case.
If you’ve started a separation and you’re facing divorce, it’s time to get an attorney. The top-rated attorneys at Melone Hatley, P.C. are here to help! Melone Hatley, P.C. is a family and estate firm serving Virginia Beach and Northern Virginia. Our philosophy is to provide all of our clients with the highest quality legal representation, innovative legal solutions, and unsurpassed dedication to customer service. Through our high standards, we strive to be a trusted resource to our clients.
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