5 Top Dos and Don’ts for Social Media during Marriage Separation
This is not meant as a substitution for legal advice on this issue. However, certain trends have emerged on usage of social media during separation, which if avoided can make your separation simpler and less acrimonious.
Consider the following:
1. Social media content is considered documents and ‘evidence’. If relevant to the legal issues before you, such as income determination, parenting, or disclosure of assets and liabilities, what you post on social media can be used against you.
2. Lawyers can ask questions about the content on social media as part of Questioning or Examinations for Discovery, including the private portion of a social media account.
3. Social media content has been used successfully to question a person’s sound judgment and responsibility, as well as suggest a lack of credibility for issues ranging from suitability to parent, ability to be employed, and the existence of assets and debts.
4. Social media in the public forum may be referred to by your spouse, your spouse’s lawyer, and the judge hearing your case.
5. It has been suggested that discoverability has a greater priority than privacy as it relates to social media.
Lawyers have a duty to preserve evidence, so it is unlikely a lawyer will endorse the destruction of social media content. Lawyers should have a frank discussion with clients about the social media content available online at the start of a separation. A discussion about the risk of continued use of social media would also be a good idea.
I have seen social media change the outcome of rulings and awards. Contact me to discuss your case, and to see what exposure you may have from your use of social media.