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Family Law And Social Media: What Your Divorce Attorney Should Know

Posted on in Divorce

Illinois divorce attorney, Illinois family lawyer, Illinois child custody attorney,Social media is becoming an increasingly pervasive part of everyday life, making more and more information regarding a person’s life accessible. This is a fact that is becoming more pertinent every day in family law. Electronic activities that show up on social media sites like Facebook can have wider reaching implications during divorce cases than many realize. Photos and other activities posted on social media can be used as evidence during divorce proceedings, making it a powerful tool during such cases. Understanding the potential impact of social media activity can be a complex, but it is important that your divorce attorney understands how to best advise you with regard to your social media accounts.

Facebook Photos Submitted as Evidence

An all too common scenario recently occurred in one custody case where the appeals court decided to uphold a decision to award custody to the father after photos from Facebook were used as evidence that the mother was not following the advice of mental health care professionals. The pictures presented as evidence showed the child’s mother at parties and apparently drinking alcohol, even after being told by healthcare professionals that consuming alcohol would negatively affect her due to her medications. This was enough evidence in the court’s eyes to justify granting custody of the couple’s son to the father.

Facebook is far from being the only social media site that has been used in court decisions, however. In a 2013 case, Los Angeles Lakers point guard Steve Nash was granted an order barring his former wife from making unfavorable comments about him via social media after she allegedly posted negative comments about her ex-husband on Twitter.

Social Media Increasingly Influencing Court Decisions

These cases are illustrations of just two ways in which social media has influenced court decisions, but the use of evidence from social media websites is much broader. Photos of gifts can be used to assert that marital assets are being dissipated and that reimbursement is necessary, online dating profiles can be used to establish infidelity, and promotions posted on professional networking sites like Linkedin can be used as a basis for requesting an increase in maintenance or child support payments.

Deleting Accounts Can Lead to Spoliation Charges

It is tempting to think that the best way to avoid being negatively affected by your social media activity would be to simply delete your accounts, but this too is problematic. Not only is it possible to reconstruct deleted information if necessary, but trying to wipe away your social media presence can lead to charges of spoliation, or the failure to adequately preserve evidence.

As social media continues to become an increasingly important part of day-to-day life, courts are continuing to use evidence sourced from these sites in family law cases. Comprehending the broad impacts your social media activities might have during a divorce or custody case can be difficult, but the best way to navigate these tricky waters is to consult with a Naperville family law attorney who understands how social media can impact family law cases and how to manage the complex issues surrounding social media in family law cases. Contact Pesce Law Group, P.C. today to schedule your complimentary consultation.

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