Social Media Etiquette and Your Family Law Case

When using social media like Facebook and Twitter, it is easy to get into hot water if you don't employ proper etiquette. This is even more true if you are involved in a family law case such as a divorce or child custody battle. Your online activities can negatively affect your case, so be careful what you share.

Image Is Everything

Your social media accounts present a certain image of you to the public. In court, you are trying to establish an image of yourself as well. You want to make sure that these images are consistent. Don't post anything on social media that would damage the image you are trying to present in court.

If you are trying to establish custody for your children, you will have to demonstrate that your children will be safe in your home. You want to portray yourself as responsible, caring and mature. If your social media communications do not reflect this, then it could damage your case. So refrain from bragging about your night out on the town on social media because it could come back to haunt you in court. Even if the event was harmless and responsible, don't give your ex's attorney a chance to distort it in court.

Many divorce lawyers watch your social media accounts to track your spending. If you are trying to establish alimony or child care, then you should be careful about how much information you share on social media. Lavish expenditures might indicate that you have plenty of money. You may have to pay more alimony and child support because of it. So you don't want to mention anything about lavish purchases, eating out or vacations on your social media.

Practicing good social media etiquette is the best way to protect your image and serve your best interests in your family law case.

Take a Hiatus from Social Media

Many experienced attorneys recommend temporarily swearing off social media during a family law case. Given the high stakes involved, this may be a good idea. You can shut down your accounts temporarily or simply not access them. This means that you will not inadvertently share something that hurts your case, and you won't be tempted to post something in anger or frustration.

If you don't want to completely sign off social media, it may be helpful to delete these apps from your smartphone. You don't want to make random posts with pictures that you have not thought through. Use social media to communicate on your home computer and only do so when you are in a stable mood - meaning never use social media when you are angry or depressed. It might be possible to use your social media accounts in a limited way so that you can still check in with your friends and have less risk of damaging your case.

Positive Social Media Etiquette

Good social media etiquette during a family law case involves reducing your own activities and carefully monitoring what you do post. Here are a few tips for you to do this:

  • Assume your posts are going to show up in your case. When you post something, you have to assume that everyone involved in your case is going to see it.

  • No ranting about your ex. You may need to rant about your ex to someone, but do it in private. The more you rant on social media, the more you seem unstable and immature.

  • Do not comment about your children and their activities. If your child needs a trip to the emergency room, you should not share post it. Your ex's lawyer might try to use it to demonstrate that your home is a dangerous environment.

  • Don't post about purchases, financial assets or vacations. Your ex's attorney may be trying to expose any hidden assets that he suspects you have. You don't want to open your finances up to heavy scrutiny because of what you are posting on social media.

  • You may be in a new dating relationship, but you should refrain from sharing this on social media. This may be a positive move for you, but your ex's lawyer may find a way to use it against you.

  • Definitely do not comment about the courtroom proceedings. No comments about the judge, your ex, her attorney or any testimony. Social media is not the place to vent about the proceedings. It will only demonstrate that you lack discretion and maturity.

A Few Cautions

Caution should be your rule when using social media. When you are sitting at your computer, you have access to a lot of information and you can give people access to a lot of information about your life. Be wise when using your social media apps.

  • Don't cyber-stalk your ex. It will be tempting to try to find out information about your ex. You should unfriend your ex and quietly severe your digital relationship. Do not ask friends to feed you information. The less you know the better. This will give you peace of mind.

  • Prune your friends and connections. Many of your connections may be closer to your ex. If you do not have a real reason to contact that person, then you should unfriend them. Disconnect from people who are close to your ex so they cannot feed her information about what you are doing.

  • Watch your privacy settings. You want to limit who can see your posts. If your posts are completely public or open to friends of friends, then you are allowing too many people access to your personal life.

Social media etiquette is essential during a family law case. Using social media in the wrong way can damage your case. Make sure that you protect your best interests when interacting with others on the internet.

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