Tag Archive for: social media

Smart devices and social media are integral parts of our lives. But they can cause problems if you’re getting a divorce or preparing for one. The biggest issues are making damaging statements on social media and losing your privacy on your smartphone, laptop, or computer. It may be best to put your hands up and step away from your smartphone.  

Your Spouse the Casual Snooper 

Your smartphone may be how you make phone calls and view and send emails and texts related to your divorce. If you’re still living together, your spouse may look through your smartphone to see who you’re calling and who’s calling you. Your spouse may also read your texts and emails.  

You should make your devices as secure as possible. Change the password on your phone, shut off notifications, and delete unnecessary apps. Cancel accounts you own jointly, like Netflix or Apple. 

All remaining accounts and apps should have two-step authentication. If someone tries to access the account or change a password, you should get an email or text confirming that you’re the one taking the action. If you weren’t, don’t permit the change to happen. 

You should also go “old school” to protect your privacy by getting a post office box. If someone mails something divorce-related to you, your spouse won’t have access to it. 

Spyware and What You Can Do About It 

Changing passwords will make devices hard to use if your spouse is physically looking at your device when the opportunity arises. But if your spouse is knowledgeable and under-handed enough, your spouse may install illegal spyware, which may render your security efforts useless. 

Spyware is hidden software that secretly records information and tracks your activities. It may monitor and copy everything you enter, store, upload, and download. It also may be sophisticated enough to track your location and, without you being aware, turn on a device’s camera and microphone so your spouse can spy on you in real-time. 

Instead of trying to find and delete spyware, you could use your devices for everything other than divorce-related matters but buy a “burner” phone or laptop. You pre-pay for time using a “burner” phone, then dispose of it when you’re done. If possible, keep it secret, locked away when you’re not using it, and password protected. You could do the same with an inexpensive Chromebook which you can use for emails and internet research. 

Social Media is Not Your Friend 

You need support from friends and family to get through a divorce. Just don’t use social media to discuss it with them. Talk on the phone or in person. Anything you post on social media could be evidence that may be used against you. Complain about your spouse and the divorce process all you want, but not in a way that could damage your case.  

If you’re disciplined enough, maintain your accounts and post about things unrelated to your spouse and divorce. If you’re someone who blows off steam online, stop using social media to avoid the temptation. 

Get the Help You Need From a Lawyer You Can Trust 

If you want help with preparing for a divorce, have questions about the process, or need legal representation, use our online calendar to schedule a free consultation or call us at (215) 752-6200. 

In a divorce, social media activity can be used as evidence which may affect alimony, property division and child custody. Accordingly, anyone involved in these family law proceedings should be cautioned about use of social media. As many people know, once something is posted online, it can never truly be deleted. Social media posts are being used more and more in courtrooms during divorce proceedings.

In a divorce, a post on social media may be used to undermine a party’s truthfulness or to demonstrate that one party was having an affair prior to the date of separation. With regard to property division, evidence from social media could show that a party is hiding either marital or separate assets. Sometimes, even if the social media cannot be directly used to show concealment of assets, it can provide a basis for more thorough discovery.

In a custody dispute, social media posts can be used against a party to show that the party is not fit to have custody of the child. One of the factors that Pennsylvania Courts look at when determining whether a parent should receive custody is a history of drug or alcohol abuse. If a social media post were to reference irresponsible activities such as drug use, this evidence can be used against the party. Some other factors include willingness of the parties to cooperate with one another and whether the parent would encourage continuing contact between the child and the other parent. Disparaging posts by one parent against the other parent on social media can be used to infer an unwillingness to cooperate and a tendency to alienate.

Additionally, in support matters, social media posts alluding to recent vacations, expensive purchases, or even job promotions can undermine that party’s argument that he or she cannot afford support payments.

It is a good idea not to post on social media regarding the other party, vacationing, partying, spending, or anything of the like when you are involved in a divorce, support, or custody proceeding. Even an innocent post may be twisted and used against you. Use common sense if you do post to social media during legal proceedings, knowing that your posts may appear in the courtroom.