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Getting Divorced? Think Before You Tweet

Posted by Sunshine, Isaacson & Hecht LLP on January 29th, 2016

Getting Divorced? Think Before You Tweet by Joshua B. Hecht{2:45 minutes to read} If you’re going through a divorce, it’s probably best to start with the presumption that anything you tweet, post, upload, chat about, or otherwise place in the universe of social media can and will be used against you by your spouse and their attorneys. So tread cautiously and be mindful of this problem that comes with getting divorced in the twenty-first century.

Consider the following two scenarios:

  • Scenario 1: Harry husband, who happens to be going through a divorce, lavishes expensive gifts upon, Sally, his significant other. Sally takes to social media, tweeting just how generous Harry happens to be. Somehow, Harry’s soon-to-be ex-wife, Wendy, gets ahold of these tweets, and forwards them to her attorneys to be used as evidence in their hotly contested divorce proceeding. Wendy’s and her attorneys’ intent is to demonstrate how Harry wasted marital funds on someone other than her and their children.

  • Scenario 2: Wendy then posts pictures on Instagram of the children with her new boyfriend, Billy. The issue of custody is also sharply contested, and these photos happened to fall into Harry and his attorneys’ hands. They introduce these pictures at trial to demonstrate how Wendy is prematurely and unnecessarily introducing the children to her paramour, thereby compounding the traumatic life changes and transition that the children are already grappling with.

These scenarios are not purely hypothetical but represent a common thread that runs through many of these litigated divorce cases.

Consider a 2010 study conducted by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (AAML) which found that approximately 81% of divorce attorneys reported discovering and using evidence from social networks.

Even something less salacious than the above examples, such as Harry simply updating his LinkedIn profile, can have unintended consequences. For instance, the update may raise questions as to Harry’s income and earnings potential, leading the court to believe that he is either earning or capable of earning far in excess of what he claims.

It bears noting that that the AAML study cited above found Facebook to be the primary source of such evidence, something to keep in mind the next time you post an update on your social status.

So, again, be cognizant that what you post, tweet, or like leaves a social fingerprint that may very well wind be used as evidence against you in your divorce proceeding.

Joshua B. HechtJoshua B. Hecht
Sunshine, Isaacson & Hecht, LLP
(516) 352-2100
(212) 376-5080

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