We all tend to think of our social media accounts as relatively private venues, places where we can simply connect with friends in an informal setting. Few people worry about a Facebook post or Tweet negatively affecting the rest of their lives.
However, the truth is that social media profiles, posts and photos are becoming more and more important to employers, to law enforcement officials, and yes, to divorce lawyers.
In New York, some family law judges have begun requiring parties to hand over the content of their personal Facebook pages or their computer hard drives. Electronic data, ranging from text messages to online videos, is beginning to play a critical role in many divorces. Evidence obtained online through social media platforms can help establish marital assets, affect child custody arrangements and more.
In A Groundbreaking Decision, A Father Is Allowed To Use Facebook Photos As Evidence
According to a New York Post article from August 2015, one mother’s Facebook profile played an important role in her divorce and custody battle. In a precedent-setting decision, Westchester County Supreme Court Justice Lawrence Ecker ruled that her private profile was admissible evidence. This was the first time that any New York judge allowed a parent’s Facebook page to be used in a custody dispute.
The father used the online posts and photos to show that the mother had frequently traveled out of the state and out of the country during the past few years, leaving him in charge of their son’s care for the majority of the time.
What Does Your Profile Reveal About You?
If you are considering divorce (or even if you’re not), it is important to pay attention to what you reveal about yourself online. Are you claiming that you can’t afford to pay alimony, yet your Match.com profile says you make $200,000 a year? Are you insisting that your professional practice is failing as a business, yet your LinkedIn profile talks about your increasing success and unexpected revenue opportunities?
To learn more about how social media can affect a New York divorce or custody dispute, consult an attorney experienced in this emerging area of law.