By now, it’s probably safe to say most people are aware unwise use of social media can come back to bite them. In job hunts, in friendships, and in divorces.
However, as Philadelphia divorce attorneys we often find people don’t understand precisely what they can do to get themselves into trouble. The list is a little broader than most people tend to imagine.
“Jokes” Which Can Be Construed as Threats
OMG. Ex demanding even more, I swear I’m gonna kill him.
You know you’re not going to kill your ex. We know you’re not going to kill your ex. It’s not even a crime for you to post these kinds of things unless someone can prove you really meant it.
But under domestic violence laws, any statement which can be construed as a threat could open the way for your spouse to win a Protection From Abuse Order (PFA). A PFA opens a number of different remedies to your spouse, and none of them are particularly advantageous for you when you get in front of a judge.
Believe it or not, these “jokes” are serious more often than not. Why place doubt in any judge’s mind about your propensity for violence?
Comments Which Fan the Flames
I can’t wait to be done with this divorce, I swear I didn’t know how greedy this woman could be until now.
You might have “unfriended” your ex and your ex’s relatives on social media, but you probably have some friends who are still in touch with both of you. Social media platforms seem to change the rules of who can see what on the daily. And, more to the point, people talk.
If you’re bashing your ex on social media there’s a great chance it will get back to him or her. Your comments may be immaterial to the judge’s decision, but they might make your ex even more angry, which means your chances of reaching a reasonable settlement before you have to go put that decision into the hands of a stranger just took a nosedive.
You do not want your ex in a fighting mood. You really don’t, unless you want to spend about four times more money and time than you have to. Vent to a private journal or the friend who never liked your spouse anyway.
Posts Which Call Attention to Your Money Habits
Drowned my woes in some retail therapy today…
Whether you’re trying to make a case you need spousal support or you’re trying to make the case that you shouldn’t be asked to pay it, the last thing you want is to give the impression you’re totally financially fine. Posts about what you’ve bought, what expensive dinner venues you’ve been to, or where you’re going on vacation form an unfavorable impression.
And if there is any way your ex can prove you used any part of the marital property to go engage in whatever it was you were spending money on, he or she might well gain an edge when it’s time to divide up that property.
Posts Which Make People Question Your Judgment
Sure, the martini in your hand could be the only one you had that night. Completely innocent. You’re just having some fun with your friends, blowing off steam.
It could also be the piece of evidence used to paint you as an irresponsible alcoholic.
While you’d think this would become less of a problem as people get more savvy about the sorts of posts which can make a job hunt harder or even get them fired from their current jobs, we still see people making this cringe-worthy mistake.
False Declarations of Income
I make between $75,000 and $100,000!
Sure, everyone fudges on dating profiles just a little, and you might be ready to move on romantically. But that profile of yours could be used as evidence. Judges might decide that’s your real income, instead of whatever you reported. Or that you’re hiding assets.
Whether you’re lying to the court or lying to your next date, lying will come back to bite you every time.
Maybe they were more innocent than they looked. Maybe you were just trying to clean up some social media mistakes before they could become a problem.
But deleted posts can make you look guiltier than you are. Better to let you and your lawyer deal with your past social media mistakes as is. And then move forward, accounting for whatever that mistake was.
Don’t leave the courts to wonder what they’re not seeing.
Should You Use Social Media at All?
Frankly, from the time you know you’re getting a divorce to the time you get your decree, we recommend just staying silent on the Internet. Wait on those dating sites, stay off Facebook. Stick to legitimate professional activities on LinkedIn if you have to.
The divorce process is difficult enough. You don’t want to give your ex more ammunition than you have to.
Active on social media? Facing a divorce? We’ll be happy to cover your specific situation in your free consultation. Why not give us a call today?