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The Impact of Social Media in Divorce Proceeding Investigations

September 15, 2015

As the use of social media explodes, so does its use in divorce proceeding investigations. Lawyers are increasingly using content from social media and other electronic communication as evidence in divorce cases. Therefore, it is important not only to protect yourself by limiting what you communicate on social media while you are going through a divorce, but also to ensure your lawyer exploits whatever information your ex-spouse is indiscreetly making available over their social media channels.

More and more it is possible to use such information to support allegations of hidden assets, substance abuse, illicit affairs and the like. These revelations can have serious impacts on decisions from everything from child custody to alimony payments and settlement amounts.

How Social Media Can Be Exploited By Private Investigators in Divorce Proceedings

It would seem like common sense that anyone going through divorce proceedings would maintain radio silence when it comes to social media and other forms of electronic communication like texts and emails. Amazingly, this is not always the case, and it is not uncommon for a picture of a new car to appear from the account of an ex-spouse claiming to be broke, or pictures from a wild party the weekend a parent was unavailable to care for a child. It has become normal to post pictures from expensive vacations, of expensive gifts, or to participate in “sexting” between illicit lovers. Dating site profiles may also contain information that could portray a person’s actual intentions as different than what they may have said in court documents. Any of this information can be found and used to show discrepancies between what a person says in court documents and how they conduct their life when they think nobody's watching.

“But I Thought It Was Private…”

While it may be the case that you or an ex-spouse do not have direct access to each other’s posts and tweets and such due to privacy settings, you may well get wind of useful information from former mutual friends who are still connected to your ex on social media networks. A friend that has aligned with you in the divorce may still be getting updates from your ex’s feed.

The laws concerning use of social media, email, texts and other electronic information as evidence in divorce proceeding investigations are complex, but it cannot be taken for granted that this information will remain private. After all, it’s permanent. Even if you delete it yourself, there’s no guarantee that a connection did not download a picture, or capture a screenshot of some incriminating text.

The Bottom Line...

The impact social media is having on our world today is that it’s becoming increasingly easy to find out if a person’s real-life actions are consistent with what they are saying in court documents. When pictures, posts, texts and emails contradict what they have said in court, they can be used to influence the outcome of important decisions in the divorce. A good rule of thumb has evolved which basically says to not post anything you would not want a judge to see. That’s good advice to follow.

If you need any further information or advice regarding divorce proceeding investigations, get in touch with Radius Investigations today at 888.698.0077 and ask about our divorce proceeding investigations service.

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