“Why Social Media Is So Dangerous In Family Law Cases”

Social media is a major part of people’s lives these days—it can even be hard to stay connected to family and friends without it. It can also be very dangerous to you in a family law case. How can something that is so useful and connecting so bad in family law cases?

THE KIND OF POSTS MADE: The first reason is that people tend to post about certain events more than others. Party pictures are very popular, going out for drinks, vacations, etc., all get posted more often than, say, going to work, or playing games with your kids. These can then get turned around: drinking with friends means you’re an alcoholic, vacationing means you have more money or income than you are disclosing to the court. It is very easy to create an image that is not consistent with your actual life.

POSTS TAKEN OUT OF CONTEXT: When you are questioned about your posts, you are not going to be looking at a history of your posts over the past 6 months. You are going to see one post at a time, taken completely out of context. You may have an explanation for the post, but the other side will try to limit you to yes and no answers about the post and try to make you look bad. Out of context, almost anything can be bad. I have had to provide detailed explanations for pictures like a baggie of marijuana (found it on the sidewalk, posted the picture as funny) and a client with a knife (was about to cook something) and all sorts of “party pictures.”

VENTING TO FRIENDS: It is very easy to vent with friends on social media about issues in your case, your ex, etc. This is never a good idea. They can be used to show deep-seated enmity towards your ex, a lack of willingness to co-parent, or any number of things.

THE BOTTOM LINE: Be prepared for anything you post to find its way to the judge. Don’t post a picture every time you have a beer. Don’t post things that are jokes that could be taken the wrong way. Go talk to your friend about your life in person, not on the internet. In the end, you’ll give yourself a lot less to have to explain on the witness stand by using good judgment and common sense. If you wonder whether or not you should post something…the answer is always no.

DISCLAIMER: All legal principles quoted are valid as of the date of writing in the State of California. However, you should NEVER base your actions on a legal article, blog, or internet story, as facts in real life are complicated. You should have your case evaluated by an attorney experienced in the area of law needed for your case. In addition, there are often exceptions and potential changes to results that occur due to facts that you may think are trivial or unimportant. This article should not be taken in any way as legal advice on your specific legal matter.

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