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We Found Something You Posted

Posted by Thomas Huguenor on March 21, 2019 in Divorce

A relatively new question attorneys ask their clients that has become a significant factor in many family court cases: “How active are you on social media?” Depending on the answer they receive, they’ll likely respond in one of two ways: “I advise you to continue to avoid it, or stay off social media completely.” Or, “That’s going to have to change.”

Many take a casual approach to their personal social media, posting thoughts about work life, selfies with friends at sporting events, or even a picture of a giant steak dinner.  It doesn’t occur to most people until it’s too late that what may seem like harmless and fun updates can be used in a court of law.

Random thoughts about work life? Those can be used as evidence of hostility towards coworkers, supporting the argument that you’re difficult to get along with.  A selfie at the game with friends? This can be used to show how much you prefer to spend time away from your spouse and children.  A massive steak dinner? A prime example of overspending and self-indulgence which can be used to flesh out a narrative about how you treat yourself to opulent meals while your kids eat mac and cheese – never mind that they prefer it that way. That’s not the point.

It’s always wise to be wary of what and how much you share on social media, but especially if there’s a possibility of it being used as legal evidence.  During divorce proceedings or a custody battle, seemingly innocuous musings can be used to paint a very unflattering and likely inaccurate portrait of you.  Avoid arming your opposition with tools to use against you by being mindful of every angle.

Social media has made it possible to connect with people and keep up with their daily lives across the world.  But the ease of access that makes it so appealing is also what makes it so risky. Posts on social media are out there for the entire world to see.  There’s no reason you can’t enjoy connecting with people, but be smart about it.  Minimize the chances of your posts coming back to haunt you by keeping a few things in mind:

  • Before posting something: ask yourself, “Could this be used against me?” If you can think of a way, others will too.
  • Don’t post anything intimate: Even a picture from your child’s pool party could be misconstrued. Again, ask yourself “How could this be used against me?”
  • Deleting doesn’t mean it disappeared: Don’t make the mistake of assuming because you deleted something it’s now gone forever. Computer specialists can dig up practically anything that’s come across your monitor.  If you think you may delete it later, better not to post it at all.

Social media has become an integral part of modern daily life, making avoiding it nearly impossible.  Since there’s no escaping it, do what you can to protect yourself. If you have questions concerning how your online activity could be used against you in a legal proceeding, don’t hesitate to contact Huguenor Mattis, A.P.C. Call us at (858) 458-9500 to set up a free consultation.

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Posted in: Divorce

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