Have you forgotten to de-friend your wife or your mutual friends on Facebook or My Space while posting vacation shots of your mistress? Have you posted videos of your child with you at a picnic while your are drinking? The divorce lawyer will be thrilled.
Over-sharing on a social network can lead to the discovery of crucial evidence in divorce and child custody cases. According to the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, 81 percent of its members have used or faced evidence plucked from Facebook, MySpace, Twitter and other social networking sites, including YouTube and LinkedIn, over the last five years. Facebook is the unrivaled leader for turning virtual reality into real-life divorce drama. Sixty-six percent of the lawyers surveyed cited Facebook as the source of online evidence. MySpace followed with 15 percent, followed by Twitter at 5 percent.
According to a 2008 report, approximately 1in 5 adults uses Facebook for flirting. However, it is not just PDA with the girlfriend or boyfriend that show up as evidence. Consider Dad forcing the child to de-friend mom, bolstering her alienation of affection claim against him. Or Husband joining E Harmony and declaring his single, childless status while seeking primary custody of said nonexistent children. Other examples include:
— Husband denies anger management issues but posts on Facebook in his “write something about yourself” section: “If you have the balls to get in my face, I’ll kick your ass into submission.”
— Father seeks custody of the kids, claiming (among other things) that Mother never attends the events of the children. Subpoenaed evidence from the gaming site World of Warcraft tracks her there with her boyfriend at the precise time she was supposed to be out with the children. Mom also loves Facebook’s Farmville at all the wrong times.
— Mom denies in court that she smokes marijuana but posts partying, pot-smoking photos of herself on Facebook.
Follow these tips to make sure that your personal life online doesn’t wind up in divorce court:
– What You Say Will Be Held Against You
If you plan on lying under oath, don’t load up social networks with evidence to the contrary.
– Beware of Your Mutual Friends
Going through a divorce is extremely emotional for most couples. The desire to talk trash is great, but so is the pull for friends to take sides.
– Pictures Don’t Lie
On a good day, adults should know better than to post boozy, carousing or sexually explicit photos of themselves on-line, – especially in the middle of a contentious divorce or child custody battle.