Since its launch in 2004, Facebook has become one of the most popular concepts in the history of the world. Recent statistics place the number of active monthly Facebook users at about 1.65 billion, or more than one-fifth of the world’s population. The site has become a platform for users to share details about their lives with one another in the form of text-based posts, photos, videos, and much more. Problems, however, often arise when the use of Facebook and other social media outlets continue unfettered through the divorce process.
Reality vs. Social Media
Research has long suggested that the version of one’s self that is presented to the world on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram is frequently exaggerated. Social media users carefully craft their public image, focusing on the positive, and tending to ignore the less attractive elements of life. The result is often an artificially inflated social media persona who is healthier, more fun, more ambitious, and more successful than the person may be in reality.
Social Media Posts as Evidence
In the course of a divorce, this false self can potentially create enormous problems. Anything posted to the internet can be found by virtually anyone, regardless of your privacy settings. Your photos, messages, and posts could be saved and presented to the court as evidence. Intended humor and irony are often lost, often sending a much more serious message than you meant to communicate.
For example, if you have claimed in your divorce that you cannot afford to pay spousal maintenance, Facebook photos of you at a vacation destination or with several brand-new purchases may suggest otherwise. Similarly, if alcohol has been a problem for you in the past, posts from a single, well-deserved night on the town could present the image that you are still struggling, regardless of the actual truth.
The easiest way to make sure that Facebook and social media sites cannot negatively affect your divorce is by limiting what you post. Before you upload anything—a photo, a memory, or even a political rant—assume that it will eventually be seen by the judge. Consider how the post may be taken out of context and used against you. If there is even the slightest trace of doubt, do not post it.
Divorce can be extremely complicated and, in many cases, social media can make it even more so. Contact a Kane County family law attorney for assistance with your situation. We will work with you to develop a social media strategy that will allow you to communicate with friend and loved ones without threatening the divorce proceedings. Call 630-377-7770 for a free consultation today.