We all know that person who spends seemingly every waking moment posting pictures and details of their lives to Facebook or Instagram. Sometimes, the appeal of posting on social media is so strong that it can cause a person to lose focus on the events happening in real life around him or her. Most people, of course, are able to use social networking sites to share photos and updates with distant friends and family, allowing them to stay in touch more quickly and directly than ever before. There are some dangers associated with the use of social media, particularly for those who are in the midst of a divorce or other legal action. It is important to remember that anything you post could end up presented as evidence in court.
While the use of social networking sites does not require ink and paper, posts and shared information are often treated as written documentation. Emails and text messages, as you may be aware, can be subpoenaed to refute claims that you have made in your divorce filings. Similarly, screenshots of information that you have posted could also be used in an effort to discredit your testimony. For example, if you have told the court that you are not currently employed, but your LinkedIn profile says that you have been working for a friend’s company—possibly off the books—there are going to be questions raised.
Such questions could also be the result of photos and experiences shared on Facebook. You may think that the pictures of your trip to the Bahamas were hidden from your soon-to-be ex because of your privacy settings, but a mutual friend could have shown them to your spouse. If you have been claiming that you have no money for basic expenses, alleged evidence of an expensive vacation may be difficult for you to explain, even if someone else paid for it.
Social media, in many ways, allows people to present a much “better” version of themselves. Online, you can project an image of a happy, successful individual with refined tastes while, in the real world, you may be suffering from severe depression and struggling to keep up with monthly bills. For most everyday situations, the idealized version of you on Facebook or Instagram is relatively harmless and will not create legal challenges. When you are going through a divorce, however, it is important for you to be exactly who you are claiming to be in all aspects of your life. If your social media posts could possibly jeopardize or disrupt your divorce proceedings, you may want to consider taking a break for a time.
To learn more about the divorce process in Illinois, or to develop a strategy for managing your social media accounts during your divorce, contact an experienced St. Charles family law attorney. Call 630-377-7770 to schedule a free consultation at Bochte, Kuzniar & Navigato, P.C., today.