Few people do not have at least one social media account these days. However, if you are about to begin divorce proceedings, it may be time to curtail your online activity.
As the popular saying goes, the internet is forever. An ill-advised text post or picture you share on the spur of the moment can come back to haunt you in all types of ways. Your social media activity could even affect the outcome of important issues such as custody, property division and spousal support.
What your social media shows about your parenting
When making custody determinations, Michigan courts focus on developing an arrangement that will be in the best interests of the children. Posts about alcohol or drug use could raise concerns about your ability to parent safely. Most people do realize this and would not post a picture of themselves partying. However, even a joking post that casts doubt on your commitment to being a safe and good parent could affect you negatively. Remember, a text post or a picture does not convey your tone or a wider context. For example, it may not be as obvious as you think that your joke about corporal punishment was meant humorously and you would never really do such a thing in real life.
In addition, you should be aware that being in a closed group online does not mean no one can see what you post. At the least, for many groups, it can be easy to see the names of members, which can pose problems when it comes to sensitive subjects.
Another issue can arise when you argue that you should receive alimony or that you cannot pay child support, but your social media depicts you spending money on luxuries. Many people like to exaggerate their lifestyle on social media, but you may have a hard time explaining to the court that your life is not actually a whirl of expensive vacations and non-stop shopping when that is the picture your timeline paints.
Locking down privacy settings may not solve the problem
Make no mistake: The other spouse’s attorney might be combing through your online presence with a fine-tooth comb. While you may think your privacy settings will curtail this activity, even locked-down posts are not as secure as you might think. If you think posts you made in the past can present problems, be sure to bring this up with an attorney.