Social Media and Divorce: What You Need to Know

Social Media and Divorce: What You Need to Know

By: M. Scott Gordon

Social media has permeated all aspects of modern life over the past decade, and divorce is no exception. According to a recent story on CBS 2, sites like Facebook and Twitter are now a factor in at least one in seven divorces. It seems the details people share online–not to mention the time they spend sharing them–has caused friction in all too many relationships.

Is this just another novelty story of the digital age, or can we actually learn some legal lessons from this emerging trend? At Gordon & Perlut, LLC, we advise individuals throughout the Chicago area on all aspects of divorce and family law, including their activities online. Your digital activity can play a role in your divorce case, so it is important to stay cautious. Here are some answers to common questions about the digital world and its relationship with divorce.

Can Social Media Cause Divorce?

Many couples can point to social media as the breaking point in their relationships. Posting items that point to clandestine activity or simply spending too many hours in front of a computer screen rather than engaging in quality time with family can be factors in the breakup of a marriage. Yet it is important to remember that social media is not often the direct cause of a divorce; it is simply the vehicle through which conflicts like infidelity and emotional distance come to light. Marriages end today for much the same reasons they always have.

How Can It Play a Role in Contested Divorces?

Social media activities can play a pivotal role in contested divorces, providing valuable evidence supporting either party’s case. In many cases, shared posts, texts, and other traces of digital activity have been presented as evidence in divorce cases, particularly in relation to financial matters. Activity online can provide clues of a spouse who is hiding assets, misrepresenting income, or otherwise manipulating the numbers. If a spouse claims to be in arrears but posts a picture from a yacht on Facebook, it can provide valuable evidence in court.

What Can I Do to Protect Myself?

While social media can play in your favor in a contested divorce, it can also work against you. Always be aware that online activities are public activities. A good rule of thumb in all of your digital activities is to consider anything you post online to be equal to saying it out loud in a public space. If you must share what you would not say in public, make sure you only do so after a full and comprehensive review of your site’s privacy settings. You may have blocked your spouse from seeing your social media activity, but do you have mutual friends who may also see your posts? Do not underestimate the power of word of mouth to spread information that could hurt you down the road. Also, these posts can be subpoenaed, so just blocking someone from seeing them does not mean they disappear.

Contact a Trusted Chicago Divorce Attorney
Social media is just one of many potential factors involved in a divorce. If you need help, contact the experienced divorce lawyers of Gordon & Perlut, LLC. From our office in Chicago and Skokie offices, we skillfully guide individuals through all aspects of divorce and family law matters.