How Can Social Media Affect My Family Law Matter?

It is no secret that first impressions can impact how we are perceived in our personal lives and work lives.  However, in today’s world, a person’s social media platform is starting to become their first impression.  Today, we share our thoughts, our pictures, and many personal details on our favorite social media platforms, including Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.  Because of this, social media now plays a major role in many family law proceedings

Ways that Social Media Posts Can be Used in Your Family Law Matter

Increasingly, attorneys in Virginia are seeing things such as Facebook/Twitter Posts, pictures from Instagram/Facebook, or even Snapchats being produced in court as evidence.  Because of this, it is especially important to keep a low profile on social media if you are currently going through a family matter or if you anticipate that you will be going through a family law matter soon. 

Posting negative comments about your spouse/former spouse are not looked upon favorably by court officials.  Negative posts can show that you are not supportive of your spouse or your spouse’s relationship with your children.  Further, you will definitely not help your case by posting about the pending litigation on social media, whether it be writing about the judge, the opposing party, or even your own attorney.  However, it is not just posts about the case directly that could harm you.  Other unexpected things such as posts made my others about the case, pictures of expensive purchases, or pictures that are posted of you “partying” or being otherwise irresponsible, could all have a negative impact on your family law proceeding. 

 

What Can You Do to Protect Yourself?

Shut down or disable your social media accounts.

 The best thing you can do is to stop using social media accounts completely before and during your family law case.  While there is still a possibility that your spouse has taken screenshots of or copied your posts, shutting down the account will prevent your spouse from trying to introduce more recent posts as evidence.  Shutting down your account will also help you resist the temptation to post or comment during the process.

 

Change Your Password

While you may have shared passwords with your spouse or former spouse previously, it is important to change your current passwords immediately even if you trust your spouse.  Deactivating or disabling your accounts is pointless if your spouse has your password information and can simply log back into your account. 

 

Think Before You Post

Before you post anything on social media, make sure you think through what you are about to do and evaluate the pros and cons.  It is especially important to avoid posts about the particular family law matter, your spouse/former spouse, or your children.  If you find that you have a strong desire to write something about your case, try opening up a word document and typing your thoughts there instead of on social media. 

Be honest with your attorney and perhaps have them bring your phone to court!

If you know that your social media accounts have damaging information, it is important that you tell your attorney immediately.  The more information your attorney has, the more he or she will able to help you.  At times, it may be important for the client to provide the phone to their attorney to bring into court as a piece of evidence. 

 

If you have questions regarding your social media accounts and how it may affect your family law case, contact the Smith Strong family law attorneys at (804) 325-1245 or (757) 941-4298.