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A ‘Social’ Divorce – Risks of Using Social Media during a Divorce

On Behalf of | May 7, 2014 | Firm News

Divorcing parties should limit their social media activity before entering the courtroom.

Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn are just a few of the many social media outlets that are pervasively employed today.  When someone tweets or posts online, that information is fixed and never deleted. The information on social media can resurface at any time, and should be anticipated when one is filing for divorce in Maryland.

Many people use social media as an outlet to express their emotions about personal situations.  For better or for worse, leaked social media information can be admissible evidence in Maryland divorce court.

Couples who are filing for divorce tend to have mutual acquaintances and friends, both online and offline. However, it is not uncommon for mutual friends of the couple to pick sides during a divorce.  Friends, despite their good intentions, can unknowingly leak unpleasant details of the case that should be kept in confidence.

If a spouse posts something he or she thinks their soon-to-be ex would never see, he or she should think again. An expansive web of personal connections still exists outside of social media, regardless of privacy controls or “unfriending” someone.

Emails and text messages may also be used in divorce court, not just social media. Any online activity, whether from emails, text messages, or social media can be subpoenaed as evidence in a Maryland divorce. The problem is that this information could be easily misconstrued by the other spouse, his or her lawyer, or the judge.

Take time to think objectively about the post before hitting the ‘send’ button. A general rule to follow would be to never post anything online that you wouldn’t want someone to remember forever. Remember that the information posted via social media, email, or texting is long-lasting and could be open to the public.

Divorce lawyers typically encourage their clients not to post anything online or send messages that they wouldn’t want a judge to review. A family law attorney can also help determine if any social media content should be used or protected from disclosure in evidence.

For more information regarding a divorce in Maryland, please contact the family law attorneys at SMLH.