Board Certified Family Law Specialist Matt Arnold answers the question: “How is social media evidence used in divorce proceedings?”
People routinely use social media sites such as Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube to express their opinions and share what happens in their daily lives. While others may simply scroll through your posts and photos (or comment, like, and repost them), your soon-to-be-ex-spouse and his or her attorney will be looking at everything you post through a magnifying glass when your divorce case is pending.
For this reason, being active on social media could potentially hurt your divorce case, especially if you are not being careful and post something compromising. Anything you post on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or any other platform can be used against you when resolving issues related to alimony, child custody, divorce, and even property distribution.
Social Media Posts are Admissible as Evidence
What every divorcee in North Carolina needs to keep in mind before pressing that “Post,” “Publish,” or “Tweet” button on social media is that your posts, photos, and videos on the Internet can be used as “admissible” evidence in court.
Thus, your husband or wife could use these posts to discredit you, prove that you are an unfit parent, demonstrate that you live an extravagant lifestyle (and thus cannot be eligible for spousal support), or raise other arguments that can impact family law issues in their favor.
As long as social media posts were obtained correctly and are authenticated, they can be admissible as evidence during your divorce proceedings in North Carolina.
How Social Media Can Hurt Your Divorce Case
Your social media posts can impact various aspects of your divorce case, including:
- Equitable distribution. Under North Carolina law, the court will consider any evidence of “waste, neglect, devalue or convert” of the marital property during the separation period when dividing property through equitable distribution. Thus, showing off how you live a luxurious lifestyle after filing for divorce or destroying and damaging marital property can have a significant impact on your case.
- Alimony. When it comes to spousal support decisions, adultery by either spouse can impact whether or not alimony will be awarded. A supporting spouse is more likely to be ordered to pay alimony if he or she engaged in a sexual relationship or conduct outside of marriage. A dependent spouse, on the other hand, is likely to be denied alimony if he or she cheated on his/her spouse. Social media can serve as an invaluable source of evidence to prove extramarital affairs.
- Child custody. Since North Carolina courts are concerned with children’s best interests, they consider a variety of factors, including the child’s safety and security, when awarding child custody. Thus, if a parent posts anything that would threaten the child’s safety or security (alcohol or drug use, threats, violence, inappropriate behavior, etc.), a court is more likely to prefer the other parent when awarding custody.
It is critical to stay away from social media as much as possible if your divorce case is pending. After all, your social media activity can have a tremendous impact on the outcome, while the other parent may use your posts against you. Contact our Charlotte family law attorneys to handle your divorce case. Speak with our detail-oriented and well-versed lawyers with offices in Charlotte, Lake Norman, and Monroe, please contact Arnold & Smith, PLLC today at (704) 370-2828 or find additional resources here.
The family law practice group at Arnold & Smith, PLLC includes two Board-Certified Family Law specialists and one Child Welfare Law specialist, as well as several attorneys with many years of family law experience that are committed to providing a powerful voice to individuals facing the often-tumultuous issues in this area of law. The range of issues our family law clients may be facing include pre- and post-nuptial agreements; separation agreements; post-separation support; child support (both temporary and permanent); absolute divorce; divorce from bed and board; military divorce; equitable distribution of assets; child custody (both temporary and permanent); retirement benefits and divorce; alimony and spousal support; adoption; and emancipation. Because this area of the law is usually emotionally charged and complicated, the family law attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC act with the utmost dedication to ensure that each client understands his or her options, and then act to achieve the best result possible for that client’s particular situation.
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