How What You Post Can And Will Be Used Against You In Your Divorce
The rise of a variety of different social networking sites like MySpace, Facebook, Shutterfly, LinkedIn, and Twitter provide a creative outlet for sharing information about yourself, friends, and family. Each of these sites offers us the ability to post pictures, make statements, post links to favorite sites, videos etc. In each instance, a person posting any of this information opens themselves up for risk should this information be used by the opposing side in a divorce, or post-divorce custody or modification case. Worse yet, your children’s attorneys (known as “guardians ad litem” or “GALs”) are using these posts to see if you are a fit parent.
In many instances, sites like Facebook allow postings to a “wall”. This allows you to post information and even invites and allows others to post information in response. Extreme caution should be extended in what you decide to post in writing. Posting items about your behavior and actions should be tempered. For instance, posts like: (1) “looking forward to getting wasted this weekend;” (2) “can’t wait to smoke it up this weekend;” or (3) “remember our trip to Vegas, where I blew $50,000 and never told my wife;” most certainly will be used against you in your case if they are discovered.
Aside from written posts, there are also concerns about posting photographs or pictures. If you post pictures which show you out drinking (doing shots, standing on top of a bar, etc.), using illegal drugs, or in compromising positions (nude, semi-nude), you should do so with the understanding that those photos can and will be used against you particularly in cases where there is a high conflict child custody matter. Certainly a parent, who is utilizing illegal drugs, or exposing themselves as having the potential to be considered a “heavy drinker,” faces a greater risk that a court or GAL will use that information against him or her in a custody proceeding.
Think twice before posting any questionable pictures online and err on the side of caution. Certainly what might seem innocent can and will be portrayed in a high conflict and messy divorce as something worse by your spouse’s attorney. You can never be too careful with the image you project to people. Even if you block your spouse from viewing your page or site, you need to assume they can view your information through some other method, via a mutual friend or family member or a court order.
The best lesson to be learned is to play it safe and never post anything online in writing, picture or video form, or otherwise, that you would not otherwise want published on the front page of the Wall Street Journal, New York Times or St. Louis Post Dispatch.