If you are in the midst of initiating divorce proceedings or were recently served with papers for a custody fight, odds are there are a million and one different things you are trying to think of and take care of in anticipation an ensuing legal battle. Common questions such as “how will I pay my bills?” “how can I still see my children?”, and “what belongings should I keep?” come to mind fairly quickly and can often be taken care of with minimal effort. A question that most people overlook is “how will my social media presence affect my case?” and unfortunately it’s a question people cannot afford to forget.
In today’s world of social media, everyone is connected through a variety of networks, from Facebook, Linkedin, and Match.com, to Tumblr, Pinterest, and Myspace. While it may seem like a good idea to post all the pictures from your weekend at the beach with your new lover, or to post a rant about your boss, spouse, or co-worker, too often the posts can wreak havoc once read by the wrong person. Nowhere is this phenomenon more prevalent than in the midst of a bitter divorce or child custody fight when emotions are already hot and volatile.
Keeping the above in mind, we generally recommend the following “safe steps” for Facebook (as it’s one of the most prevalent social media sites) to all persons considering a divorce or custody proceeding in order to minimize potential damage to your case:
1) Change all of your passwords so that your spouse or ex-spouse cannot access your account
2) Set your privacy settings to notify you anytime someone tags you in a picture or post and take immediate proper action to delete if inappropriate
3) Review your privacy settings to ensure only your friends, not friends of friends, or the general public, can see your page
4) Remove your wall entirely so that other friends or users cannot post inappropriate information on your page.
5) Remove inappropriate photos including any photos including but not limited to pictures of illegal drugs, alcohol consumption, and adulterous relationships
6) Highlight positive relationships with your children through photos
If you need legal assistance with a divorce or custody proceeding, or need legal advice on social media presence during a domestic dispute, please contact Winslow & McCurry, PLLC.