Can activity on popular social media websites, like Facebook and Twitter be used against you during a divorce? Even with social media profiles being set to ‘private’, are you at risk? Lee Rosen, retired divorce attorney and founder of the Rosen Law Firm, discusses.
Will Facebook, Twitter, and other social media be used against you? Transcript
Hi, I’m Lee Rosen. Will Facebook and Twitter and other social media be used against you?
Social media is a lot of fun. I probably shouldn’t admit this, but I check Facebook before I even got out of bed in the morning. I play around with Twitter. I use Instagram. I love finding just the right filter to make my pictures look good, and all of it is a blast. It’s a way that today all of us share information with our families and about our families. We’re constantly updating our statuses and telling the world what we’re doing as we go through the day.
As you go through a divorce, however, social media is probably something you should back away from. Let’s talk about the specifics of why, but for now I’m going to tell you that as a divorce lawyer it’s very much in your interest to just take a break from the social media as you go through this process.
Why back away from your social media accounts, well, first of all social media has tremendous potential to make your spouse angry. This is a sensitive time, and if you say something, even something innocent in the wrong way, it may come back to bite you. I’ve seen it time and after time where spouses have interpreted things in the wrong way, even one of these motivational quotes.
We had a case where the spouse really took it the wrong way, saw it as provocative, and things kind of blew up on us. And so there’s just a lot of potential for emotional upset to come from posting things on social media. I would encourage you to just not to do it.
A second big reason to stay away from it is that social media has become for us the easiest way to prove adulterous behavior. This has become sort of a gold mine of information for us. We find over and over again things that we can use in cross examination or in settlement negotiations as proof that somebody has been involved in a relationship they shouldn’t have been involved in. And so if you’re not using it, you don’t run the risk of having that information exposed, and I know a lot of people will look at me and say, “Don’t worry. It’s not public. What I’m posting is in a private message. It’s confidential. Nobody will ever see it.”
Well, don’t believe that. Don’t buy into that. It’s not confidential. It’s not private. One way or another, this information comes out. I’ve seen it time and time again. Just don’t trust that. Ultimately, the reason to stay away from social media, at least, during this process is that all of this information is admissible in court.
It will all be considered by a judge. You’re going to have to face the things that you’ve said and done on social media in the event that you go to trial. So don’t expect that there’s going to be any procedure, any process, or any system that’s going to help us keep this information out of the court process. The only way to be sure that it doesn’t get used against you is to not be posting information on social media.
We had a situation in another state not very long ago where an attorney advised their client to delete the information from Facebook. The attorney was then sanctioned and faced with more than a half a million dollars in fines and penalties. I’m telling you, the stuff you put on social media is going to come out. It’s going to be used. It’s going to be used against you. Don’t do it.
While you’re going through this process, just take a break. Just don’t use it. Don’t post anything. Don’t go there. Step back from Facebook, back from Twitter, back from Instagram, back from Foursquare. Give it a rest. You can always start up again once the process is finalized.