Our lives are increasingly connected by the internet and social media. We share so much of ourselves with the public, including information, photos, videos and more. Unfortunately, you can’t retract or hide that information when dealing with a private issue, such as divorce negotiations. Social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and dating websites leave tracks that we may not expect.
The Nature of Social Media in Family Court
Divorce attorneys frequently use social media as an online resource for gathering case evidence. The photos, locations and posts you share can affect cases of property division, child support and custody.
Online lives don’t just disappear. In some situations, case law demands that both parties turn over login information for social media accounts — including posts and data that were previously deleted. For example, when disputing available finances to pay for fees and childcare, a recent vacation photo or celebration of a new car purchase can complicate matters.
Cases can get particularly messy when trying to determine the intent of a post. A photo of someone with a raised glass, surrounded by smiling friends at the bar and the caption “Glad to be away from all the stress at home” can be interpreted in different ways. Was it intended for a wife or husband to witness? Could it back up an allegation of alcohol abuse?
The “what if” scenarios and contradictions while examining your social media activity can potentially damage your image, influence how responsible you seem and impact the integrity of the case. If you’re concerned about how your behavior might reflect your standing in court, seek the advice of a lawyer.
During the divorce process, each party should be cautious about how they continue to use social media. Even if separated individuals have unfriended each other, tagged posts with the same mutual friend can still appear in a feed. Couples should be careful about spreading ill will or generating another piece of evidence to collect.
Social Media’s Influence on Marriages
Social media should not be entirely discredited. A growing amount of long-term relationships start on online platforms, dating apps and websites. Social media also helps people stay connected and socialize with each other, even from afar.
However, time spent scrolling through social media can come between a couple’s time together and potentially impact intimacy and marital happiness. Turning away from each other and focusing on a screen is a distraction and also a source of suspicion. Individuals can go to a circle of friends to complain about a significant other’s behavior, or find comfort sharing sentiments with an ex-boyfriend or girlfriend.
It’s no secret that the internet provides secretive avenues for infidelity. Millions browse AshleyMadison.com a month — a site for married individuals seeking affairs. Anonymity and private accounts remove some of the guilt, and it’s much less evident than disappearing to a bar for a few hours.
Setting Healthy Browsing Habits in Relationships
The more time a spouse spends online, the more likely that accusations will fly. It’s natural to need some reassurance about a partner’s honesty. Having open conversations can also reduce the temptation to go snooping and risk breaching privacy and trust.
One technique for couples is to practice transparency with their digital lives. If they’re willing, each partner can promise to share who they are engaging with when they’re on social media platforms. Another possibility is to maintain a list of social media account passwords and device passcodes. In the end, access influences trust, and rules that couples create together can support a healthy use of social media.
Contact a Divorce Law Attorney in Charleston, SC
If you need representation for divorce proceedings or have questions about filing for divorce, you need an experienced lawyer to be your guide. Lauren Taylor Law helps those who need advice in these situations. Contact our firm online or call 843-790-9009 today.
South Carolina divorce attorney Lauren Taylor is an authority on family law in Charleston and Greenville. Lauren Taylor Law is an authority on divorce, child support, and alimony in South Carolina. She graduated from the Charlotte School of Law, and has been practicing for several years now. Lauren Taylor relies on her experience and passion to fight for you during this stressful time. Learn more about her experience here.