Divorce and the Dangers of Social Media

social media, Arlington Heights family law attorneysSince its launch in 2004, Facebook has become one of the most popular concepts in the history of the world. Recent statistics place the number of active monthly Facebook users at an astounding 2.27 billion, or more than a quarter of the world’s population. The site has become a platform for users to share details about their lives with one another in the form of text-based posts, photos, videos, and much more. Problems, however, often arise when the use of Facebook and other social media outlets continues unfettered through the divorce process.

Reality vs. Social Media

Research has long suggested that the version of one’s self that is presented to the world on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram is frequently exaggerated. Social media users carefully construct their public image, focusing on the positive, and tending to ignore the less attractive elements of life. While most of us know at least a few people who spend most of their time on social media complaining or making vague, unhappy-sounding posts, most users project an artificially inflated social media persona that is healthier, more fun, more ambitious, and more successful than the person may be in reality.

Social Media Posts as Evidence

In the course of a divorce, this false self can potentially create enormous problems. Anything posted to the internet can be found by virtually anyone, regardless of your privacy settings. Your photos, messages, and posts could be saved and presented to the court as evidence. Inside the courtroom, context is extremely difficult to demonstrate, so intended humor and irony are often lost—which could result in posts that sound or appear much worse than they were meant to be.

For example, if you have claimed in your divorce that you cannot afford to pay spousal maintenance, Facebook photos of you at a vacation destination or with several brand-new purchases may suggest otherwise—even if the “vacation” was a work trip or you bought your new items with gift cards that you received for your birthday. Similarly, if alcohol has been a problem for you in the past, posts from a single, well-deserved night on the town could present the image that you are still struggling, regardless of the actual truth.

The easiest way to make sure that Facebook and social media sites cannot negatively affect your divorce is by limiting what you post. Before you upload anything—a photo, a memory, or even a political rant—assume that it will eventually be seen by the judge. Consider how the post could be taken out of context and used against you. While it may seem alarmist, think about the worst-case scenario, and if there is even the slightest trace of doubt in your mind, do not post it.

Protect Yourself with Help from a Rolling Meadows Family Lawyer

Divorce can be extremely complicated and, in many cases, social media can make it even more so. Contact an experienced divorce lawyer in Arlington Heights for guidance with your situation. We will work with you to develop a social media strategy that will allow you to communicate with friends and loved ones without threatening the divorce proceedings. Call 847-253-3100 for a free consultation today.

 

Sources:

http://www.statista.com/statistics/264810/number-of-monthly-active-facebook-users-worldwide/

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/william-morrow/a-look-at-how-social-medi_b_10633940.html

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/women/life/one-man-proves-how-easy-it-is-to-fake-a-perfect-life-on-facebook/

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4330900/

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