Is Your Facebook Page Going to Be Used Against You in Your Divorce?

A few weeks ago I attended a continuing legal education seminar and one of the topics of discussion was finding information about a party using the internet.  Now this isn’t any deep private investigator stuff this is using public information like someone’s public Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn and Twitter profiles to learn about a person. The speaker was really more experienced in using these sites to gain information about parties to injury cases, but I have seen it used in divorce and child custody matters as well.

There are tons of stories out there of old high-school sweethearts rekindling their relationships on Facebook with current marriages left in the dust.  But, how can Facebook or Twitter be used against you in a divorce or child custody case?  I’ve even seen a newspaper article from the UK where a wife found out that her husband was divorcing her because he changed his marital status on Facebook.

If your spouse suspects that you are cheating on him/her they could go to your social media accounts and print out the conversations and photographs you have put up there for the world to see.  Those conversations can be pretty damning – especially if they are pulled out of context.  The photographs can also be pretty harmful.  Last year, I worked on a child custody case and represented the father.  The mother tried to use photos and comments on his Facebook and MySpace accounts showing him partying and drinking to prove that he was a bad father.  I have used Facebook conversations and photos to help prove adultery in divorce cases.

One way to find information about your spouse is to use an online tool called Flowtown.  Flowtown lets you enter an e-mail address and it shows you where that person is interacting with social media online.

Is there evidence that can be used against you on your Facebook page?

If you use Facebook or other social media sites and you are facing divorce, a child custody suit or other legal matter, here are some resources for you to check out form other legal blogs:

  1. Facebook No-No’s for Divorcing Couples by Ben Stevens at www.SCfamilylaw.com
  2. How to Find the Opposing Party on Facebook by Lee Rosen at Divorce Discourse
  3. Using Social Networks to Gather Evidence by the Trial Technologist’s View
  4. Social Networking Sites can Provide Key Evidence by Dan Berexa at Dan Berexa’s Tennessee Law Blog
  5. Florida Couples try to Sway Divorce Proceedings with Evidence from Facebook by Keith Maynard at the Jacksonville Divorce Lawyer Blog.
  6. Here’s a great video by Lee Rosen about this topic as well:

Comments

  1. You said ” Last year, I worked on a child custody case and represented the father. The mother tried to use photos and comments on his Facebook and MySpace accounts showing him partying and drinking to prove that he was a bad father.”

    How did that play out? I am dating a girl who is going through a divorce and he has threatened to used pictures of us out for halloween against her in the custody battle. Thanks.

    • Hi Sean,

      Facebook. Flickr, MySpace, Twitter, and other social media sites where folks upload photos of themselves can be a treasure trove for a lawyer in a contested divorce or custody case. I’m sure the photos could be spun in such a way to use against your friend. The photos typically show that person’s lifestyle. If the lifestyle is one continuous party then that could be a big problem in the custody case. The Halloween pictures could be easily explained, but there could be other issues involved like if there are restraining orders against who the children are around or what types of atmospheres the children can be exposed to that the photos could show a violation of.

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Trackbacks

  1. [...] The cases are both be personal injury cases. In each case, comments on the plaintiff’s public page contradicted claims made in the lawsuit. The role of Facebook in discovery also seems popular in family law cases (see here, here, and here). [...]

  2. [...] disclose documents if your lawyer advises you to.  Posting your divorce documents on the internet (for example facebook)  or discussing your divorce and legal matters publicly on the internet is generally a bad idea [...]

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