The majority of adults in the United States have at least one social media account. In fact, this has been the case for more than five years. While the majority of adult social media users are millennials, use among all adult age groups has risen significantly over the last decade.
How is This Relevant to My Divorce?
Over the past several years, use of social media as evidence in divorce proceedings has become increasingly common. It is standard practice for clients to provide their attorneys with publicly-available posts from their spouses’ accounts, and judges in various jurisdictions have granted requests to access spouses’ private accounts.
When it comes to getting divorced, anything you say can be used against you, and this includes anything you post on social media.
In a divorce proceeding, a spouse’s social media posts can be used to:
1. Document Communications
While feelings of ill-will and infidelity do not play the role in divorces that they used to, they can still be relevant in certain respects.
For example, if your spouse cheated during your marriage – and this includes cheating while your divorce is pending – any money your spouse spent in furtherance of the affair can reduce his or her “equitable” share of your marital estate. This can include everything from the cost to register an online dating profile to expensive trips and gifts.
2. Establish State of Mind
Suppose your spouse is fighting for custody, and he or she has also been engaged in a long fight with alcoholism. If your spouse (or one of your spouse’s friends) posts photos of a night out on the town, this may be useful to show that your spouse is not deserving of custody and that granting custody to your spouse would not be in the best interests of your children.
3. Prove Your Spouse’s Location
Social media posts can also be used to prove your spouse’s location. This includes photos and videos posted to Instagram and Twitter as well as status updates posted to Facebook and various other sites.
If your spouse states that he or she rarely travels for work, has a flexible schedule, and spends quiet weekends at home but frequently posts from locations around the country (or around the world) and has a consistent history of going out on the weekend while you stay at home with the children, this is all information that could be highly-relevant to your divorce.
4. Prove Your Spouse’s Spending Habits
Your spouse’s spending habits could be relevant to your divorce in a variety of ways as well. For example, in New Jersey, alimony payments are based, in part, on the standard of living enjoyed during the marriage. If you are seeking alimony and your spouse is trying to minimize the amount to be paid, you may be able to use your spouse’s social media posts to prove a higher level of spending.
5. Prove Your Spouse’s Employment
Similarly, you may also be able to use your spouse’s social media activity to help prove his or her employment or job prospects.
For example, if your spouse is claiming that he or she cannot pay child support due to lack of employment, or if your spouse is claiming a need for rehabilitative alimony, affiliations with employers and status updates on Facebook or LinkedIn may help prove that your spouse’s claims are unwarranted.
Speak with a Divorce Attorney in Hackensack, NJ
Navigating social media issues in a divorce can be complicated; and, if you are preparing for a divorce, it is important to make sure you take appropriate steps to prepare. You also need to avoid mistakes (such as accessing your spouse’s account without authorization) that could have negative consequences.
To discuss your divorce with an experienced attorney in confidence, call MR. Men’s Rights Divorce & Family Law of New Jersey by Schultz & Associates, LLC at (201) 880-9770 or contact us online for an initial case evaluation.