Massachusetts Legal Blog

The Facebook Post That Got Me Divorced – Evidence Used in Social Media

You can build relationships on social media but you can also destroy them. The use of social media, Facebook in particular, has grown exponentially over the last few years. It has literally permeated every aspect of our lives. Posting feelings, pictures, celebrations, and even life changing events (both good and bad) has become like second nature. Because of how prevalent social media is in our lives, it is no surprise that it is also playing a role in divorce.

Some statistics point to a marked rise in how social media is being linked to divorce. There is also a rise social media posts being used as evidence in divorce trials. Facebook has become a meeting ground for long lost friends and long lost loves. Arguments and jealousy between partners are sparked based on postings, comments, and pictures. And, inappropriate messages can lead to what is referred to as ‘emotional cheating’. A simple friend request can lead to reminiscing. Reconnecting online is actually the main avenue for rekindled romances that lead to divorce.

Facebooks Statement of Rights and Responsibilities

What If I Deleted My Posts and Account All Together?

Even if social media or a specific Facebook post doesn’t actually catapult a couple into divorce court, it should be noted that those posts and pictures can be used in divorce court. Entries from Facebook, Twitter, blogs, and other electronic communications can be forensically recovered and can play a major role in divorce. This is why it is advised that anyone using social media be keenly aware that once you hit send or post, it is out there for the world to see and it is out there forever. Posting statuses that are emotional, threatening, or even abusive can directly affect your case even after a divorce is final.

Recent Case

There are some recent cases that have highlighted just how much of a role social media is playing in divorce cases now. One very noteworthy case involves a judge who recently ordered a couple to give the other party’s lawyer their passwords for Facebook. There were allegations of negative messages and posts pertaining to the couple’s children, so a judge had them exchange passwords to allow the posts to be seen. However, the wife in the case then texted a friend with instructions to go into her Facebook account and change the password. She also asked that person to delete messages that she didn’t want the husband or court to see. She was caught giving these instructions and warned that destroying the messages could constitute destruction of evidence.

Think Before You Post

Another case involved a man who claimed in court that he could not afford the alimony he was being asked to pay. However, recent Facebook posts showing his news about an upcoming pricey vacation countered those claims. Another woman claimed to find out her husband was actually going through with a divorce thanks to Facebook. She woke one morning and checked her notifications to find that her husband had changed his status from being “married” to show he wasn’t anymore. While the couple was trying to decide how best to go about splitting, the change in status opened a floodgate of questions and inquiries from friends and family who didn’t know the couple was on the verge of divorce. This particular woman also expressed that she felt she then had to change her status. This led to her openly asking the world what the proper etiquette was for announcing divorce online.

Always Use Good Judgement

These cases highlight the newness of the social media presence in our lives during divorce. It all also brings about new challenges such as who to unfriend, whether or not to un-tag picture with an ex-spouse, whether to stay friends with the in-laws online, or even when to officially change the relationship status. Since each individual divorce is unique, there is no set formula for how to handle social media lives during a divorce. However, one thing is clear, one post or one wrong picture can be like opening Pandora’s Box. Any couple considering divorce or in the middle of a divorce should consider speaking with a divorce attorney.

If you need any questions about social media and divorce answered, contact Anna Shapiro, Esq. PC for honest and unbiased advice and information.

By Anna Shapiro, Esq.