Social media missteps can have huge impacts during a Colorado divorce
Social media activity is admissible in divorce court and may shed light on a person’s finances, fidelity, fitness as a parent and more.
During divorce proceedings, most people wouldn’t dream of revealing any information that could damage their chances of receiving a favorable settlement. Unfortunately, many people in Wheat Ridge may inadvertently do exactly that by sharing too much on social media. Anyone who is divorcing in Colorado should appreciate the potential consequences of over-sharing online.
Scope of social media evidence
Forbes explains that almost anything a person willingly posts online, from a public status to a private message, may be admissible as evidence in family courts. Status updates, comments, photos, location check-ins and more may be pulled from all of the following sources:
Information that a person directly posts is typically considered legitimate, and it may affect numerous aspects of the divorce settlement.
Potential divorce impacts
Online activity may substantially affect property division and alimony, especially in a high-asset divorce. According to Forbes, social media activity may indicate that a person is concealing assets or exaggerating financial need. Online activity may also suggest an extramarital affair. Colorado judges do not consider fault when awarding alimony, but they can consider marital misconduct that resulted in the dissipation of marital assets. Thus, evidence that a spouse spent money on an extra-marital affair may be impactful.
Careless social media activity can also adversely affect parents who are seeking custody or visitation rights, according to The Huffington Post. Online activity that depicts a parent partying or acting irresponsibly may make a parent appear less capable of providing a stable home. Since Colorado judges consider each parent’s ability to support the child’s relationship with the other parent, social media activity that indicates animosity toward the other parent may also impact custody decisions.
Understanding the risk
Many people may think that they can avoid these outcomes by controlling their social media use carefully during divorce proceedings. However, this may be difficult for a few reasons.
First, posts that a person has no control over can be damaging. For example, a new love interest may tag a divorcing spouse in a post referencing an expensive gift that the spouse recently gave. Second, it’s not uncommon for online activity to be misinterpreted. A joke that was in poor taste or a comment that was intended sarcastically may be read in the wrong context. Unfortunately, appearances often matter as much as intent when social media activity is evaluated.
Minimizing the damage
Divorcing spouses should remember that social media posts can be more permanent than they seem. If someone else has seen a post or taken steps to preserve it, such as snapping a screenshot, deleting the post will make no difference. Given this risk, it is often advisable for divorcing spouses to delete their social media accounts until the divorce is finalized. Although this won’t prevent other people from posting damaging information, it at least addresses the risk of harmful personal admissions.
Anyone who has concerns about social media and other unusual sources of evidence during a divorce should consider meeting with a family law attorney. An attorney may be able to offer advice on privacy rights during divorce and strategies for addressing potentially damaging information.
Keywords: divorce, social media, Facebook