4 ways social media could affect your divorce

While social media has its upside, it also poses a potential threat to people who use it irresponsibly while going through a divorce.

Most people in Maryland either use social media, or at least have a vague idea about what it is. There are countless networking sites where people can post text, images and videos about the happenings in their lives. According to Pew Research, a shocking 68 percent of all adults in the United States use Facebook, which is the most popular medium.

While these sites enable people to connect and share, they also provide a platform that could prove risky for people engaged in a legal family issue, such as a divorce. Below are several ways social media could have a serious impact on the proceedings.

1. Provide evidence in court

As an article in the Las Vegas Sun points out, even text messages are admissible as evidence in court. Increasingly, social media posts have been used in the legal community, either as evidence as to where someone may be or as evidence as something someone may have done.

Anyone who uses social media should keep in mind that even with strict privacy settings, nothing posted on those forums is ever truly private. Essentially, if someone would not want a judge to see it, posting it should be avoided.

2. Harm custody cases

Consider a child custody case in which one parent is arguing for more parenting time. However, that parent posts a video that demonstrates excessive alcohol use, while the parent is supposed to be in charge of the child. It is possible that the other parent could try to use the post as evidence of a dangerous environment.

3. Reveal hidden assets

It is not uncommon for people to try to hide assets when a divorce is pending. For example, they may open other bank accounts to store cash, or they may loan close friends or family money in an effort to keep a spouse from getting it in property division. Posting about extravagant trips or gifts could illustrate that a spouse is spending a lot of money when he or she perhaps should not be.

4. Expose online dating activity

It is not illegal for someone going through a divorce to date, of course. However, these proceedings are often stressful and emotional enough, and throwing in a new relationship could potentially add to any animosity or hurt feelings. Also, online dating profiles could contain information that perhaps contradicts reality. For example, someone could claim to be single without children when going through a divorce that involves several kids. This could be used to support a claim that a parent is not invested in his or her children.

Essentially, social media is a potential minefield for anyone going through a legal issue. Experts agree that if someone is unsure of posting content, it is best to avoid doing so. Anyone with concerns about this topic should speak with a family law attorney in Maryland.