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The Perils of Social Media in Family Law Cases

These days, much of our communication is taking place through social media sites, primarily Facebook, as well as through other means of technology such as text messages and email.  This technology is certainly beneficial to us for use in our everyday lives, but if it is used incorrectly, it can also harm us.

Sites like Facebook allow us to connect with old and new friends and even make beneficial business contacts, but using these sites recklessly can negatively affect our family life, determine whether we get that new job or promotion, and can also affect us financially or emotionally in a divorce or custody case.  It is tempting to use social media as an outlet for our emotions or as a fun way to let our friends know what is going on in our lives, but used inappropriately, it can cause damage to our families and careers.

Information from Facebook can be used as evidence in court proceedings, and even if information is deleted, it can be retrieved by forensic experts. Courts can require us to turn over our login information and passwords.  Using location-based features can allow criminals and stalkers to know our whereabouts.  We have all heard stories of homes being burglarized or children disappearing due to information made available online.  Those stories are real-life, tragic consequences of misuse or abuse of information that has been placed on the Internet unwittingly through social media.

For better or worse, social media has become an important part of our lives and if used in the right way, it can be a good business tool or a fun way to stay connected.  Use it wisely and be mindful of the following advice:

  1. Be discreet in posting pictures and monitor those your friends post of you.
  2. Be careful who your ‘friends’ are.
  3. Be careful what you say and what you allow your friends to post on your page.
  4. Before you post comments or pictures, ask yourself the question, “Would I be comfortable hearing this read aloud in a courtroom setting or having this be seen by a judge or jury?” If you become involved in a criminal action or a civil lawsuit, your online activity can be admissible and used against you.

Patricia (“Patti”) McCorvey Karras, a partner with the law firm of Dover Miller Karras & Langdale, P.C., practices family and personal injury law.  We are a full service law firm.  Please contact us for any legal needs you may have.