Facebook has surpassed 1.06 billion monthly active users and the use of social media as evidence in divorce and custody cases is on the rise. Now more than ever it is important to understand how social media can impact your divorce and how to use privacy settings to limit access to your information.
Paramount above all else, always use caution when sharing anything on the Internet. Privacy settings are not infallible and screenshots can be used to capture information meant to be kept private. The rule of thumb when deciding whether or not to share: if you’re not comfortable with the post being public, then don’t share it online.
If you have decided that you are comfortable with the Internet at large being privy to your post, there are steps you can take to implement a certain level of control. Privacy settings are useful for limiting the audience of your post, and while not foolproof, they do offer a barrier of protection from prying eyes.
The Wall Street Journal published a guide to Facebook’s Privacy settings in March 2013. Facebook is notorious for constantly changing how their privacy settings work, so it is important to check them on a regular basis.
If you are going through a divorce or considering divorce, understanding how social media can be used as evidence is important. In an article published by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, AAML president Marlene Eskind Moses commented on how social media factors into the divorce process:
“Going through a divorce always results in heightened levels of personal scrutiny. If you publicly post any contradictions to previously made statements and promises, an estranged spouse will certainly be one of the first people to notice and make use of that evidence. As everyone continues to share more and more aspects of their lives on social networking sites, they leave themselves open to much greater examinations of both their public and private lives in these sensitive situations.”
A relationship showing signs of distress is a signal that it is time to take a break from your social media accounts. Putting your social networking on pause can help you to resist the urge to post comments, pictures and information that may prove detrimental to your case. It is better to err on the side of caution and not share, than to try and remove content down the road.