It may be easier to count the people who don't have a Facebook account than those who do these days. The popularity of social media sites such as this one has risen to a point where people gladly share their lives with their friends and family (both near and far) via the internet. People share their highs and their lows on Facebook, and their friends see it all.
Social media sites have become such a fixture in the daily lives of so many people, that they don't think twice about what they post. In most cases, this isn't a problem, but in a divorce, it can be disastrous. Family law attorneys now routinely look to Facebook and other social media sites for information about their clients' soon-to-be former spouses, so you should watch what you post while going through a divorce.
So, you think your posts are private
You may be thinking that since you have your Facebook privacy settings at maximum that the content on your page is safe. You may have unfriended or blocked your spouse and all of his or her friends thinking that would keep your information private. Unfortunately, you should think again. Colorado law has rules in place that could put your Facebook content into the hands of your estranged spouse and his or her attorney.
What kinds of information can your spouse retrieve?
Nearly anything you post could end up in your estranged spouse's hands. Information that may change the tide of your divorce includes the following:
- If a friend tags you in a post that puts you in a compromising position
- If your posts put you in one place when you claimed to be in another
- If your posts indicate that you were less than honest about your financial situation
- If your posts allude to infidelity
You may think about simply deleting these types of posts, but you should know that computer forensics may retrieve them. In addition, deleting them only tends to bolster your spouse's argument that you have more money than you say you do, that you would rather go "party" than spend time with your kids or that you are involved in other disparaging activities.
How do you protect yourself?
As unfair as it may seem, you need to take steps to protect yourself during the divorce proceedings. Some advice and information that many family law attorneys give these days on how to do that include the following:
- Be mindful of what you post
- Even if you don't post something that could damage your case, your friends or family might
- Your page actually belongs to Facebook, and it can provide information to your spouse under certain conditions
An attorney might even advise you to take a vacation from Facebook until the divorce is final in order to avoid inadvertently providing "evidence" to your spouse.
Now that you know that Facebook content may be used as evidence, you may consider secretly accessing your spouse's page in order to find damaging evidence. Do not do this. The court may disallow anything you find this way. Furthermore, this is a violation of the law. If you suspect that your spouse's Facebook page may contain evidence you need in your divorce or custody proceedings, you should let your attorney know right away.
You may want to friend an attorney
If you have further questions or concerns about your use of Facebook in connection with your divorce, be proactive. You may greatly benefit from consulting with a Colorado family attorney. Not only can he or she provide you with advice regarding social media, but an attorney can also help protect your rights in relation to property division, spousal maintenance and child custody and support issues.