We cannot escape the fact that social media is a big part of our lives each day. Some people may have just one or two social media accounts, but other people have multiple accounts they use throughout the day. However, regardless of whether you use one account or several accounts, your posts on social media can quickly damage your divorce or custody case.
Anything online can be used against you in your case; therefore, it is best to stop using social media while your case is pending. However, if you choose not to stop using social media, our Chicago divorce lawyer recommends you follow strict rules for social media use.
Ten Don’ts You Need to Take Seriously About Using Social Media During a Family Law Case
In addition to carefully monitoring your children’s internet use to ensure they are not visiting questionable websites or participating in activities that could harm them, you need to “monitor” your internet usage to ensure you do not harm your case.
- DON’T delete accounts or information without talking to your attorney first. This step is very important, especially if you are involved in litigation or you believe the matter is headed to court. Deleting information and profiles may be viewed as attempting to hide evidence. The assumption could be detrimental even if you did not have an ulterior motive. Furthermore, the other side may be able to retrieve the deleted information.
- DON’T keep the same passwords. You need to change every password to all social media accounts, including email accounts, Google accounts, iCloud, etc. You should change the passwords immediately. Do not use passwords that your ex-partner may know, such as your first pet’s name, graduation date, parent’s anniversary, etc.
- DON’T post anything negative about your partner. It may be tempting to post derogatory material slamming your ex-partner; however, posting anything disparaging can be used against you in court. Never attack your partner or comment on your partner’s parenting style or skills.
- DON’T post anything questionable. When you are in a custody battle, you must be extremely careful about what you post. If a post could be construed as immoral or illegal, stay away from it, including sharing someone’s post. It may seem funny to share that post from your friend that contains partial nudity, vulgar comments, or other questionable material, but it could be used against you. Imagine that everything you post, comment on, or share is going to be reviewed by conservative, by-the-book, old-fashioned grandmothers. If they might even frown, do not post it or share it.
- DON’T make your profiles public. Set the security settings for all accounts at the highest privacy setting. Make sure that the privacy settings apply to photos, videos, posts, and any other information you can protect.
- DON’T accept friend requests from people you do not know. The other side may try to send you a friend request to obtain access to your account and monitor your posts, including information designed to “disappear” after a few hours.
- DON’T talk about your case online. Avoid saying anything about your divorce action or custody battle online, including in private chats.
- DON’T engage in an online battle. If your partner or other party attempts to use the internet to begin rumors about you, engage in an argument, or otherwise post material about you that is untrue, do not respond. Print the posts and conversation (take a screenshot that has the date and time) and give those copies to your Chicago divorce lawyer.
- DON’T forget to inform your family and friends. Make sure that your family and friends understand that they should not post anything about or related to you, your children, or your partner. They should not engage with anyone related to your partner either.
- DON’T post anything about a new partner. Avoid posting pictures of your dates, trips, or lifestyle.
DO Contact a Chicago Divorce Lawyer for More Advice on Moving Forward
If you have questions about using social media during a family law matter, contact the Goodman Law Firm today for more information and guidance.