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Ways to Protect Yourself on Social Media During a Divorce
You might not want to share personal information with your soon to be spouse or their attorney, but the images and updates you share online provide insight into your life and activities, whether you like it or not. From the multiple ways that information can be posted by and about you (including your own posts and posts from your friends and family) to the admissibility of your online posts, messages and photos, the social media giant can impact your case.
5 social media risks to be aware of during a divorce
You can’t Control Others
Even if you do not post photos or status updates of yourself online, you can be tagged in posts by others. If someone else posts an image or update that shows you in a less than flattering light or that alludes to criminal or immoral activity, you could face that information in court. A friend or acquaintance could inadvertently create a post that calls your ability to parent your children into question or that reduces your chances of getting the custody arrangement you want.
Your New Relationship
If you've met someone new and update your relationship status, that information can be used by your former spouse's attorney. Avoid posting images, status updates or relationship changes that indicate you've moved on.
You’re Being Watched
Even if you delete your soon to be spouse as a friend, they may still be able to see your posts, via your other friends and family members. According to the American Bar Association, your Facebook history may be used for discovery by the other side in your case, so if you’ve shared images of yourself with a new romantic entanglement or in any questionable situations, then your history could be used against you, especially if you’re a military officer getting a divorce. Your page is not as private as you think and anything you post could show up in court later. Consider taking a Facebook vacation – or deleting your account entirely – during divorce proceedings.
The Picture Cliche
A picture may be worth a thousand words, if it is used against you in court. If your former partner is accusing you of being a poor parent and of partying too much, photos of you partying or drinking will not help you in divorce court. Even old photos can be damaging, particularly if your spouse has made allegations against you or maligned your parenting abilities.
Facebook is Forever
Even if you delete something you’ve posted on Facebook or online, it may still remain on the Internet. Anyone with a little web savvy can resurrect removed webpages – and someone could easily save or download your photo or post before you have a chance to delete it. If you are in the middle of a divorce or even contemplating a divorce, then the images you post on Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites may later come under scrutiny. While you can remove things if you feel you’ve made a mistake, the best procedure is to avoid posting personal things in the first place while you are undergoing any court proceeding, including divorce.
Since your Facebook account could be used as evidence, you may not be able to delete it entirely; taking a hiatus from the site may be your best option while you are undergoing a divorce. A divorce attorney familiar with social media and the impact Facebook (and other sites) can have on your case can help you determine the best course of action for your particular situation.
In a summary dissolution, a hearing with the judge is typically not needed. A marriage of five years or less may be ended by summary dissolution, which is a simplified procedure to terminate a marriage in the state of California. With a summary dissolution, a joint petition is filed when 1) either spouse meets the standard residency requirement, 2) the marriage is irretrievably broken down due to irreconcilable differences, 3) the marriage is childless, 4) the wife is not pregnant, 5) neither spouse owns real estate, 6) there are no unpaid debts greater than $4,000, 7) the total value of community property is less than $25,000, 8) neither spouse has separate property (excluding cars and loans) of greater than $25,000, 9) the spouses have reached an agreement regarding the division and distributions of assets and liabilities, 10) both waive their rights to maintenance and appeal; 11) both have read a brochure about summary dissolution and 12) both desire to end the marriage.
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