Donna Dougherty Law P.C.

Social media can be harmful during a Virginia divorce

Social media has become a staple in modern culture. When used appropriately, it can connect people around the world. However, having an online presence can have potential drawbacks, especially for couples in Virginia going through a divorce. The American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers conducted a survey in 2010 that revealed that 81 percent of divorce attorneys have seen an increase in the use of social media as evidence.

As Forbes magazine points out, status updates on various accounts could either reveal or imply behaviors that could be harmful during a divorce or custody battle. For example, someone in the middle of a divorce who is posting about lavish expenditures may give his or her spouse clues as to where marital assets have been spent.

Other types of posts that could be called into question include rants about the other spouse, statements about child custody or items related to money. It is also important to remember that pictures that could depict poor parenting skills could be especially harmful to those seeking custody of a child. Those types of posts could include the following: 

  •        Making negative comments about a child
  •        Portraying one’s self as single without children on a dating website
  •        Pictures that imply illegal behavior or potential substance abuse

The Forbes article warns couples that certain activity can be used as evidence in court. Experts advise people going through a divorce to keep personal information offline. The AAML report cited Facebook as the leading contributor of evidence in divorce cases. However, a good rule of thumb is that if a spouse would not want a judge to know about a certain activity, then he or she should not put it on a social media account, in an email or text message.

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