Social media like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google +, and others have become a massive part of our society. Oftentimes people are very quick to share their feelings and/or photos online. However; before, during, and after a divorce it makes sense to stay offline or at the least limit one’s usage and keep in mind that sometimes what you think is harmless may have a negative impact on your divorce lawyer’s ability to reach your goals. The attorneys at Botelho Law Group always make a point to discuss social media usage with all of our potential divorce or family law clients during their free initial consultation.
One of the pitfalls of social media posts deals with a major issue in any divorce case: finances. Sharing photos of a vacation, new car, or going out to fine dining restaurants or bars for example could have a massive negative impact when your divorce attorney is trying to get you the best possible outcome. A judge would not look kindly upon somebody who is going into court asking for more child support because they can’t afford to support their children but the other side presents evidence that money is being spent on other things. The same is true when alimony is an issue. In short, keep how you spend your money and time private.
Another key area in many divorces deals with custody of minor children. If a divorce turns into a major custody battle you do not want harmful evidence to surface. An example of this is one case where the mother claimed the husband had a drinking problem. The husband’s divorce attorney explained to the judge that alcohol abuse was an issue in this case, but not for his client. The lawyer proceeded to bring in a lot of evidence consisting of picture after picture from Facebook showing the mother/wife partying with alcohol and comments about how she was going to take her husband “to the cleaners”. She lost her credibility as well as her chances of obtaining her goals in the divorce.
Something our divorce lawyers also mention to potential family law clients is that not all your Facebook friends are actual friends. I have seen first-hand through a previous divorce case where the wife had blocked her husband from her Facebook page believing that the above referred to issues would not come up in her case. However, the divorcing couple had mutual online friends. In that case it did not take long for the husband’s friends to screen capture and send along the posts that the wife was putting online with the assumption that the husband would never see them. Not only mutual friends sharing information can bring light on negative evidence, making “friends” online with people you don’t know could cause trouble as well. It is very easy for a hostile party to create a fake profile, and if you accept a friend request from somebody you do not actually know in “real life”, there’s a possibility that whomever is on the other side of that profile may open up issues you would rather not face.
Many of you reading this post might be thinking that the advice to stay away from social media when dealing with a divorce is basic common sense. However, I have seen time and time again where social media has brought about negative evidence and facts that sometimes a divorce lawyer simply does not have a defense against. The key takeaway from this blog post is to stay off social media or if you “must” stay on, do not post anything that you would not want to say or show a family court judge.
Joseph F. Botelho, Esq.
BOTELHO LAW GROUP
Attorneys At Law
901 Eastern Ave.
Fall River, MA 02723
#divorce, #lawyer, #child, #support, #custody, #visitation, #attorney, #separation, #family, #probate, #alimony, #separation, #familylaw, #familylawattorneys, #familylawcourt, #contempt, #motion, #house, #marriage, #FallRiver, #NewBedford, #Taunton, #Attleboro, #Providence, #Pawtucket, #Massachusetts, #RhodeIsland