The popularity of Twitter, Facebook, and other social networking sites has created a can of worms in divorce: These sites often contain evidence of a person’s whereabouts, “friends,” employment status and other information that can be used as evidence against them.
People often forget that the pictures they post and the things they write about on these sites are public information. Anyone going through a divorce should be cautious about their actions online, especially on social networking sites. The same is true for people who have been through a divorce but whose ex-spouse might still want evidence against them with regard to continuing alimony and support payments, child custody issues, etc.
Here are some of the types of evidence that can be found on these sites:
● Adultery. Spouses will have a hard time denying that they’re having an affair if there are photos on their Facebook page showing them cavorting with a new boyfriend or girlfriend in a hot tub. Facebook wall messages can also be incriminating.
● Finances. Some people claim that they’re not able to make significant alimony or support payments because their job prospects are poor, but their profile on LinkedIn might suggest the complete opposite. In addition, some spouses hide assets during divorce proceedings, but evidence of those assets might turn up online.
In one recent case, a spouse tried to avoid paying alimony by claiming he had no job prospects after being laid off, but he was caught when his Twitter messages clearly showed that he was about to be hired.
● Child custody. Social networking pages can contain information that casts doubt on a spouse’s claim that he or she is an ideal parent. This includes things a spouse has done, places they’ve been, attitudes and frustrations they’ve expressed, and people and influences to which a child has been exposed.
For example, a parent who has agreed not to take a child out-of-state might post photos of a visit to Disney or some other vacation destination with the child, thus proving that the parent violated the agreement.
In one case, a father denied that he used drugs, but the background of his MySpace page featured marijuana leaves.
● Threats. One divorcing spouse was able to present evidence in court that the other spouse sent a threatening message in a “friend request.”