As California couples divorce, whether amicable or not, there are important decisions to be made about property division, child custody and child support. What many may now know is that social media activity can be used in the divorce process. According to The National Law Review, affairs conducted online precipitate up to one third of divorce cases. Social networking evidence is worthy of using in court by 81% of attorneys and Facebook is used as a principal evidence source in 66% of divorce cases.
While laws may differ from state to state, social media evidence is typically admitted in court if the information was not gleaned illegally. This means that a former spouse or their representatives cannot create fake accounts to obtain information about what the other spouse is doing, as the evidence will not be admitted. The exception to this rule is if the information is made public for anyone to see. In this case, anything posted can be used as evidence.
The Huffington Post states that text and email messages can even be subpoenaed to be used in court during divorce. This means if one spouse received a large bonus but has not disclosed it and it is discovered in email, it can be used in court. Social media posts can also be used to build or destroy custody cases. For example, if a mother is asking for full custody of her children but posts photos of her drinking and out with friends when she should be with them, it may impact her case.
Anyone going through a divorce can benefit from being careful about what they post online, particularly if there are tense issues being resolved. It is likely that an ex-spouse or their attorney or representative are closely watching the accounts.