Online activity could pose problems in divorce court

Many Minnesota residents enjoy spending time on social media sites. They post vacation photos and share tidbits about their lives. However, most people do not realize that these seemingly innocuous online interactions could be used against them in divorce court.

Email, text messages and social media posts are admissible in court. If someone makes a claim in divorce court but posts conflicting information online, it can be used as evidence in a divorce proceeding. For example, a man told a court he didn't have a job and needed financial support from his wife, but he posted about his job and expensive vacations on social media. His alimony request was denied.

The general consensus among legal professionals is that all online communication should be free of sensitive information during a divorce. This includes posting details about work, creating online dating profiles or revealing anything that could be construed as irresponsible behavior. For instance, most people don't post how much money they make, but a LinkedIn profile could show they have a side business they didn't disclose in court. Also, having an online dating profile before a divorce is finalized could be used as evidence of cheating. As for child custody cases, a parent uploading photos of drunken parties on Facebook or posting that they play video games all day could cause problems during custody and/or support hearings. The safest thing to do is completely avoid using social media until a divorce is finalized.

The end of a marriage can understandably often cause emotions to run high. Family law attorneys will often advise their clients to be discreet about what they say publicly about their estranged spouses.

Source: The Huffington Post, "A Look at How Social Media is Impacting Divorce Cases," William Morrow, June 23, 2016

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