Divorcing Couples Face Rising Use of Smartphones & Social Media as Evidence
The use of evidence from smartphones and other wireless gadgets during divorce proceedings has increased over the past three years, according to 97 percent of the lawyers surveyed by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers.
Among the types of evidence gathered, 46 percent consisted of text messages, while 30 percent were emails and 12 percent were call logs and phone numbers. App data, Facebook posts, Twitter feeds and more were also used.
The survey cited popular social media sites Facebook, Twitter and Instagram as being the top three used for divorce evidence by 41 percent, 17 percent and 16 percent of the surveyed attorneys respectively.
Social media can have a significant impact on divorce cases by opening up divorcing partners to scrutiny in court. In litigated divorces, opposing attorneys may dig up incriminating information from social media pages for one spouse to use against the other as evidence to prove anything from concealed assets to the breach of a prenuptial agreement.
For example, a parent “tweeting” about a night out could be perceived as being irresponsible towards their child, or a spouse sharing Instagram photos of a vacation could raise questions about their income.
So the bottom line is that you should monitor your behavior on social media. Ask yourself, if I post this, will it come back to haunt me later? If you are going through a divorce, err on the side of caution and refrain from using social networks until after the divorce. Otherwise, your online activities could come back to be a problem for you.
When it comes to divorce, an advantage of divorce mediation is privacy. Neither party is compelled to look through each others social media activity to find something incriminating to use. The divorcing partners can instead focus on looking forward and coming to an agreement regarding their futures, rather than reliving the past.
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To learn more about the divorce process in California and how mediation can help, please visit our page, “What is Divorce Mediation.”