Social media evidence can be decisive during a California divorce

Posted on Apr 14, 2017

During a divorce, content shared online, from messages to photos, can provide information that affects asset division, spousal support and child custody.

People who are preparing for divorces in Westlake Village often expect various aspects of their personal lives to be pulled into the proceedings. However, many people may not realize that their online activity may affect the final divorce settlement. Today, social media activity is often accepted as evidence in legal proceedings. Furthermore, this evidence has the potential to influence most major aspects of a couple’s divorce settlement.

Extensive online evidence

A person’s activity on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram and various other platforms may provide evidence during divorce proceedings. Statuses, comments, private messages, images, videos and location check-ins may all offer insights into a person’s life or activities. As Forbes and The Huffington Post explain, this information may affect the following aspects of the divorce settlement:

  • Property division – online activity may suggest that one spouse is hiding physical property, savings or future income. The discovery of hidden assets may significantly change the way property is divided in California divorces. Under state law, spouses are entitled to one-half of community property, which is the most marital property besides gifts and inheritances.
  • Spousal support – online activity may also indicate that one spouse is exaggerating his or her need for financial support. For instance, social media may reveal that a spouse is maintaining a more luxurious standard of living than indicated in court.
  • Child custody and visitation – social media activity can also reflect poorly on a person’s fitness as a parent. California courts consider issues such as abuse and drug use when awarding custody and visitation. Online activity that suggests either issue could result in a parent losing custody or receiving reduced visitation time.

Given these potential ramifications, managing social media activity carefully during divorce is essential. Spouses should be careful to avoid sharing questionable content or making harmful assumptions about online privacy.

Avoiding harmful missteps

According to The Huffington Post, spouses should consider the potential consequences before posting anything on social media. Spouses should remember that online admissions might be misconstrued and difficult to delete later. Spouses also shouldn’t trust privacy settings to keep their personal information secure. An online friend may always choose to share a spouse’s posted information with others.

Spouses should additionally consider the possibility of other people posting revealing or misleading content. The activity of third parties, such as online friends, can still reflect poorly on a divorcing spouse. The best way for spouses to guard against this risk is by deactivating their social media accounts for the duration of the divorce.

For most people, understanding the role of modern technology in a divorce can be challenging. Spouses who have concerns about privacy rights or other issues during divorce should consider consulting with an attorney. An attorney may be able to offer advice on minimizing oversights or mistakes to improve the likelihood of a favorable divorce settlement.

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