Social Media as Evidence in Divorce
It is common for people to use social media to document and share positive and important events in their lives, whether these involve their kids, pets, promotions, successes, vacations, or a nice dinner out. Other people use social media to share their problems with their friends. However, you may not realize that social media may be evidence in a divorce proceeding. Posts, photos, emails, and texts may be admissible in court and used to establish facts that work against your position. At Plog & Stein, our Denver divorce attorneys provide vigorous, knowledgeable representation to people dealing with divorce, property division, custody, alimony, and other divorce-related issues.
Social Media May Serve as Evidence in a Divorce
In Colorado, couples are required to make financial disclosures to each other. Under the Colorado Rule of Civil Procedure Rule 16.2, each divorcing spouse is supposed to disclose everything to the other spouse about their financial condition, including all of their income, assets, and debts. In the past, a spouse had the burden of discovering information that was not disclosed, but currently, the non-disclosing spouse may be held accountable for failing to provide honest and thorough information.
Unfortunately, some spouses do not make honest disclosures. They may, however, freely share information online that may be used to show dishonesty. For example, some people announce a bonus or a promotion that they have not revealed in their disclosures. Sometimes people have side jobs or investments that they may not reveal in their disclosures. Others take expensive vacations even though they claim not to have money to pay alimony. Generally, it is wise for people involved in a divorce not to disclose information through social media.
Social media often involves geo-tagging. It might reveal information that a parent or spouse might prefer to keep secret. For example, if you post pictures of going out to get cocktails at a time when you have the kids, this might be used to support an argument that you are not acting in the children’s best interests. Similarly, if you post that you have been hanging out with your friends instead of searching for a job, a judge may impute income to you or make another adverse ruling.
Sometimes spouses are friends or follow each other on social media, such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or Instagram. In these cases, they may be more cautious about what they share, particularly if they have deceived a spouse as to their financial condition. Privacy settings may change without prior notice to a social media user, and sometimes a friend of a friend shares information, such as when friends go on vacation together or applaud each other’s successes. Generally, you should be cautious about what you share, sharing only what you would be willing to have a judge see and read.
Online dating may also present hazards in a divorce case. While Colorado is a no-fault state, adultery could become relevant is some divorce cases. Given the penchant for people to post things about their love life online, it’s not too hard for the other spouse to find information that could be damaging at trial. Online dating sites are no exception. Though adultery, alone, is not necessarily relevant, it can become relevant if one party is carrying on in front of the children, or perhaps squandering marital assets as part of an affair. Why court trouble?
Does this mean that you should delete your social media account? No. The smartest thing to do is to manage it carefully and privately. Traditional discovery may unearth the same information, but by posting information about yourself voluntarily online, you might adversely affect your case right from the start. Be smart and understand anything you say, including online, can be used against you. Denver divorce attorneys know this and will use what they can to further their clients’ cases. This includes the experienced Denver family lawyers at Plog & Stein, P.C.
Consult a Knowledgeable Lawyer from Plog & Stein P.C.
If you are concerned about the use of social media as evidence in your divorce proceeding, you should retain an experienced attorney. At Plog & Stein, P.C., we understand our clients’ needs and are ready to use our 70 years of combined legal experience to meet their objectives. Contact us online or call us at (303) 781-0322 to set up an appointment. We also represent people who need an alimony lawyer or assistance with other family law matters in Castle Rock, Highlands Ranch, Centennial, and Aurora, as well as other cities in Arapahoe, Douglas, and Denver Counties.