Most people keep their cell phones within reaching distance, and post on social media without thinking too carefully. It can be a very risky habit; sharing pictures, personal information, and other details is often done without considering possible aftereffects. As the popularity of Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and other platforms grow, a new field opened that focused on using social media posts as digital evidence. This information can be legally used to prove a spouse’s actions in court.
How Social Media Becomes Evidence
Everything that is posted on social media has a corresponding time stamp, and this allows others to track when the poster shared the information. Even if the ex-spouse does not have access to the postings, it may be granted for use for investigative purposes and trial preparation. Discovering where an ex-spouse was on a certain date, whom they were with, purchases they made, and other behaviors can strengthen or weaken a divorce or child custody case.
Social media postings can be used for different types of evidence. If an ex-spouse claimed that they could not afford child support, then posted pictures of the new boat they purchased online, this could indicate that they were not telling the truth. In some cases, text messaging and e-mail records can also be used.
Other Forms of Social Media Evidence
Certain types of posts can show that an individual’s state of mind is unstable, and this can jeopardize their child custody arrangements. If the ex-spouse reading the posts becomes concerned, they may feel that their children’s safety is at risk. Also, should an individual post pictures with certain people or photos that exhibit reckless behaviors, these could also affect custody.
Boasting about any behaviors, like a vacation, a promotion at work, or even pictures of the children in certain situations can give an ex-spouse the ammunition they need to initiate a court battle. This evidence can show the ex-spouse’s frame of mind, inappropriate actions, and proof of income.
When Private Information Becomes Public
Some separated couples take to social media to air their differences. Posting insults or private matters online can be damaging to court cases and the children. If a child reads a post from one parent about the other that is hurtful or vengeful, that child can be severely affected. The ex-spouse that is being targeted by the posts may also be able to use them as evidence. Divorce and child custody should be handled privately; making posts about them, especially when angry, will not lead to good outcomes.
Separating couples should consider avoiding social media during divorce proceedings, and be very cautious afterwards, especially if children are involved. It is wise to never make negative comments about any family members; posting provocative photos, pictures of purchases, or any private information is not recommended.