When Facebook started, it was limited to college students and seemed like an interesting novelty for keeping up with your college friends. Now, social media is a part of everyday life. Anything you post becomes a digital record. If you’re in litigation and aren’t careful, you could wind up with worse problems than Grandma seeing you do a keg stand. Think carefully about how you are using social media during divorce.
Here are 5 simple, fast, and effective tips to make sure your social media accounts don’t wind up in front of a judge during your divorce or custody dispute.
Ask yourself if you’d want the judge to see your post.
First and foremost, if you wouldn’t want a judge or a courtroom full of people to see it, don’t post it. Posting about your case or going on rants about your ex, the lawyers, the judge, etc. can create trouble. I’ve seen too many cases to count were someone has saved and printed an embarrassing social media post to bring to court. Sometimes, we even do it ourselves. You read what divorce attorney Margaret Held and Judge Bill Swann think about the use of social media in cases in this article from WVLT-TV.
Make all of your profiles private.
Next, check your privacy settings and lock them down. You’d be amazed at how easy it is for a lawyer or investigator to search for a name and find embarrassing information because someone didn’t check their privacy settings. Have a friend do a “social media audit” for you, or do one yourself. Just Google yourself. If you can find embarrassing or personal information this way, your privacy settings need work.
Only connect with close friends and relatives.
Remember: don’t accept friend requests from people you don’t know. Chances are, if you’re in the middle of a divorce and you get a friend request from “John Smith” who has no other friends, Mr. Smith is a fake account. It’s likely designed to get non-public information from you. Yes, this really happens.
Review your lists of friends and followers.
Sooner rather than later, clean out your Friend List. It’s likely you and your ex have mutual friends. Unless you know for certain that they aren’t also talking to your ex, it’s better to un-friend and then re-friend after the divorce than to get your mutual friends pulled into your divorce. Also, it should go without saying, un-friend your ex. You can be friends later, but not while you’re in active litigation.
Choose a media-savvy lawyer.
Finally, hire a lawyer who knows social media. As it becomes a bigger part of everyday life, it will become a bigger part of divorces. So, ask your lawyer how they use social media to develop your case. Ask how they can help you manage your own social media presence. If a lawyer talks about “the MyBook and the FaceSpace,” you should probably keep looking.
At Held Law Firm, we pride ourselves on staying up to date on the latest technology and social media trends. Therefore, we use these skills day in and day out to get better results for our clients and to maintain our clients’ privacy.