People who are going through the end of a marriage have to think carefully about everything they do because so many things can have an impact on the way the divorce is handled. One thing that some people don't think about is what types of changes they're going to have to make with social media while the divorce is pending.
It's easy to get on social media sites and share various things about yourself, but you have to think about how the information might be used. Even if your ex doesn't have access to your posts, there's still a chance that mutual friends and others will take screenshots or share what you say with your ex. There are a few rules that you need to follow if you're going through this.
- Spoliation. Once litigation (or a court case of any kind) is known to you, whether it is filed or not, you are under an obligation to NOT DESTROY any EVIDENCE. This means do not destroy anything that might possibly be or become relevant to your case. I.e. do not delete files from your computer, your iPad, phone, camera, do not destroy hard copies of important documents, diaries, etc. In sum, do not destroy anything. This can carry serious consequences if you violate this rule.
- You are Under a Microscope. Beware that up to 3 years (occasionally more) may be requested. So whatever is in your credit card and bank statements is something that could "come to light." You obviously cannot change the past, but you can change the future.
- Social Media. Preserve what's out there for your spouse, if you think it is relevant to the case (i.e., print or pdf any pages of relevance and save them in a secure location - or provide them to us.) And beware of your use of social media while the case is pending. In fact, we recommend you avoid the use of social media during the case. Think about what's out there. If there's a concern, warn your CCB team.
- Don't speak negatively of your ex or the divorce. You're likely going to feel emotional as you go through the divorce, but you shouldn't vent those feelings on social media. Instead, pick a trusted individual to speak with to get things off your chest in person.
- Know what you're being tagged in. This is especially important for cases that involve child custody. You don't need your ex showing the court that you were partying with illegal drugs or doing anything that might come back to haunt you during the legal proceedings. Changing the settings on your account so that you have to approve any posts or tags might help. Even better, avoid going to places that might not seem appropriate in court.
- Avoid trying to spy on your ex. Even though it's tempting to ask mutual friends what your ex is sharing on social media, it's usually best to avoid this. Instead, focus on your own healing so that you can move forward after the divorce is finalized.
Of course, you should also take basic steps to improve your privacy. This includes changing your passwords, starting a new email account and checking the settings on each social media account to ensure that you're only sharing things with your intended audience.
If you have questions, please contact an attorney at Ciancio Ciancio Brown, P.C. at (303) 395-4773.