How Social Media Can Be Used Against You in Family Law Cases

Like many people, you are likely active on social media. Adding personal information and sharing pages, photographs and posts you others is often part of our daily lives; however, if you are currently involved in a divorce, custody or post-judgement matter, you might want to limit your usage for a while. Your comments, photographs or shares can become a serious problem if it unexpectedly ends up in the hands of someone who wants to use them against you.

The reality is, content that you post on social media sites is not private. It can and will likely be used against you should the occasion arise.

Here are a few examples of social media posts that can hurt you:

  • You post something negative about your ex while you are mad or irritated. One of the main things judges look for in custody matters is both parties’ willingness and ability to support the child’s relationship with the other parent. Saying nasty things about your ex online can suggest to the judge that you are not acting in your children’s best interests.
  • Your social media posts contradict what you are saying in court. If you represent to the court that you don’t have enough money to pay child support and then post photos of your lavish purchases or recent vacation online, then you are not going to appear credible.
  • A friend posts something inappropriate on your wall or tags you in an inappropriate photo. Even if your friend only meant the post or photo as a joke, it can easily be misconstrued by the court, giving the judge the wrong impression of you.
  • You made poor decisions with substance use or abuse or social affiliations in your past that are documented online. Make sure that your social media accounts don’t portray you in a negative light with photos of excessive partying, drug use or other questionable activities. Even if the posts are several years old, they can still make you look bad.

It would be best to take a break from social media altogether while going through a family law matter; however, if that’s not possible, consider taking these steps:

1. Do a social media “clean up,” making sure all of your online accounts paint you in the best possible light.

2. Before you post something, think about the judge on your case seeing it, then decide if you should post it.

3. Don’t accept friend requests from people you don’t know who could be spying on you.

4. Change your Facebook and social media privacy settings so that your friends cannot tag

pictures of you or post on your wall.

5. Don’t use social media to vent about your ex or your situation. It’s just not the right place.

Date Published: April 19, 2017


Written by: Cynthia N. Grob