Beware of the photos and information one places on Facebook and other social media sites. It can come back to haunt you when it comes time to deal with divorce, custody, or other family law matters.
According to recently released statistics, more and more family law attorneys are venturing to social media sites to gather evidence for divorce, custody, and other family law matters. That’s because sixty-five (65) percent of adults – and eighty-nine (89) percent of those adults under thirty (30) years of age – use social media sites.
For many attorneys in the family law business, the Internet has become the go-to place to assemble incriminating evidence. Social media posts tend to provide the who, what, when, where, and why of a persons personal background. There are over 845 million Facebook users who post an average of 70 pieces of content per month. This includes photographs, videos, contact information, network of friends, conversations, locations, interests, and daily routines.
Some family law attorneys have utilized this plethora of personal information to reveal an opposing party’s state of mind, evidence of time and place or actions, and to validate and corroborate communications. Decisions handed down by courts across the country have affected how evidence from social media sites can be admissible in court. Decisions have held, among other things, that there’s no reasonable expectation of privacy on Facebook, that divorcing parties can be ordered to hand over social networking site passwords, user names and logins, and that divorcing parties may be granted full access, including private and deleted data, to Facebook and MySpace.
So divorcing parties or couples caught in custody disputes might want to think twice next time before posting those belly dancing videos or heavy partying photos on their social media sites.