As of May 2013, 72 percent of online adults are involved with social networking sites. This percentage stays remarkably consistent, even when you break down groups of online users based on sex, age, education levels and a number of other categories. Unfortunately, since these popular sites are still in their relative infancy, many users do not know how to protect their privacy, particularly when legal issues arise.
You need to understand that the information and pictures you post on your Facebook or other social media pages — and information posted by your friends — can dramatically affect the terms of your divorce settlement. Forbes Magazine cites two types of Internet activities that attorneys can use for or against you:
- Social media websites can provide extensive information. Even if you take great care to use privacy settings wisely, you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse typically have many friends in common. Their sites can have photos of you standing in front of your new luxury vehicle or showing that you started a romantic relationship long before you decided to divorce.
- Emails and text messages can also work against you. Either divorce attorney can subpoena message content that conflicts with information submitted for the divorce settlement. Of course, learning about your spouse’s upcoming promotion can help ensure the higher earnings are used to calculate child support settlements. However, you need to consider what your spouse might learn about you as well.
As new issues come up regarding the use of social media, the law continues to evolve concerning how it can be used in a variety of legal cases. Note, however, this type of information has increasingly been used in divorce cases in recent years. If you are heading toward divorce, you naturally hope that your spouse and his or her friends are informative on the Internet. However, make sure you keep your own private matters truly private online.