Social media is now increasingly finding itself in dispute lawsuits. Social media posts have led to harassment and defamation cases, and it’s becoming a major factor in divorce cases as well. Surprisingly enough, one in seven divorces is caused by social media posts, according to data from the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers. Facebook is a major culprit. It turns out, one in every 20 divorces are somehow related to Facebook. Even more shockingly, about 30 percent of users on Tinder, the dating app, are in fact married. That perhaps explains that one in three modern divorces result from online affairs.
Facebook Vs. The Modern Marriage
Don’t underestimate the power of social media to affect your marriage, and later, your divorce. If a spouse has been chatting up an ex on Facebook or has a Tinder profile, then your divorce lawyer in Scottsdale can legitimately use that evidence in your favor in an Arizona courtroom. It’s not at all uncommon for divorce attorneys to use emails and texts in divorce proceedings as evidence. Now, social media posts are increasingly being used, even more so than emails.
So, if you plan on separating from your spouse, expect social media to play a role in it somehow. If you have been chatting with an ex on Facebook or Whatsapping a former flame, your spouse may be able to use that evidence against you. Of course, simply retweeting what an ex posted on Twitter doesn’t instantly make your divorce case turn in your soon-to-be ex’s favor. How your attorney defends and uses social media evidence does play a role. While Arizona is a “no fault” jurisdiction, clever lawyers often seek to burnish the reputation of litigants as a divorce winds its way through the court system.
When Can Social Media be Used as Evidence?
There are several ways divorce attorneys can use social media posts and content as evidence in proceedings. Social media serves as prime examples of communication. For example, if you are accusing your spouse of drinking too much or using drugs, you can use social media posts between your spouse and others they have used substances with to demonstrate the drinking or drug using parents’ unfitness to be the primary custodial parents.
Social media posts are also used to show specific time and places of events, such as “checking in” to a place. Attorneys also use social media posts to prove a spouse’s state of mind and as proof of actions.
Keep in mind that the same evidence can be used against you as well. Particularly, if you bash an ex on social media and try to harass the ex with embarrassing photos and such, it could serve as evidence against you in a divorce court, or even in post-decree proceedings.
Social Media Prenups
Couples who have been getting married in recent years have even gone as far as to sign social media prenup agreements to avoid having Facebook posts dragged into divorce proceedings. Remember that if your private social media conversations end up admissible in court, they become a matter of public record.
If you want to fully understand how social media could impact your divorce, for better or worse, you should discuss the specific matters with your divorce attorney. Don’t underestimate or think of social media posts as irrelevant in your divorce in any case. Finally keep in mind that once either spouse commences a divorce action, you should presume that all of your digital footprints are being monitored and watched by the other spouse and their lawyers. Put another way, if and when a divorce starts in your life, put the phones and computers down and start focusing on a brighter future with full custody of your children and a new chapter in your life beginning.