For better or worse, social networking sites have radically changed how many Americans interact with family and friends. According to the Pew Research Center, 69% of U.S. adults have Facebook accounts, and 74% of those who use the site visit it daily.
For many individuals, Facebook and similar sites have become a normal part of everyday life, a place to share pictures and life stories or seek support during tough times. Unfortunately, many users overestimate their online privacy and underestimate the permanency of items they may post. During a divorce, this can put individuals at serious risk of unwittingly revealing information that could be used against them in court.
What social media posts may reveal
While Facebook privacy settings give an impression of security, they are not always reliable. Users may also assume that deleting a post is enough to destroy it permanently. Not so with modern forensic recovery methods. Individuals should always assume that anything they post online could come back to haunt them in the future. Some examples of posts that may come to bear in a divorce proceeding include:
- References to big-ticket purchases, which may contradict financial claims
- Compromising images of parties or vacations, which may affect custody or infidelity outcomes
- Check-ins to locations that may reveal conflicting information
- Changes to a relationship status that suggest infidelity or deception
Avoiding social media missteps
While all users should be careful about what they post online, it is especially important for individuals going through a divorce. In fact, it may be best to avoid social media entirely until life gets back to normal. High emotions can make it all too easy to share potentially compromising information. Additionally, friends or family members may unwittingly provide damaging evidence with a careless image tag, share or comment.
In addition to Facebook, the digital age has normalized a wide range of apps individuals use daily, from email to Instagram. Users must realize the information risks these platforms pose, especially when facing an acrimonious divorce. An experienced attorney may be able to help those with a compromising social media history to mitigate the impact during divorce proceedings.