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Family Law Blunders: Impacts of Social Media

In this day and age, technology is everywhere. Our appliances are being tied in with the internet, our jobs increasingly use technology, our phones are getting faster and smarter, and social media is king. With all this technology comes constant access. However, when it comes to family law, constant access to the internet might be detrimental. This article is aimed at discussing some of the potential impacts of social media on family law cases.

It’s Just Social Media

Social media (whatever your social media of choice may be) can be beneficial for a multitude of reasons. However, if used improperly, social media can have serious negative impacts. What’s worse is that the trouble may be further magnified if you’re involved in a family law case. You may be saying to yourself, “Who cares? It’s just social media!” If you’re of the opinion that your posts on social media are irrelevant — think again. Your online presence and your social media postings can have a significant impact (negative or positive) on your case. Below, we’ve provided some things to consider when using social media during the pendency of a family law matter.

Impacts of Social Media

Spousal Maintenance

If spousal maintenance is at issue in your divorce, social media postings may affect the amount and duration of maintenance. Because spousal maintenance contemplates a couple’s living style, postings of lavish trips, expensive hobbies, frequent travel, or other indicia of the “highlife” might influence a spousal maintenance obligation. Furthermore, such postings might reduce the ability of a payor spouse to claim that they are unable to afford an obligation. On the flipside, postings demonstrating a frugal or otherwise conservative lifestyle may provide a basis for lowering a spousal maintenance obligation.

Parental Responsibilities

Much like posts about your lifestyle might come back to haunt you with regard to spousal maintenance, the same is true for social media and its impact on parental responsibilities. For example, when a court is called upon to allocate parental responsibilities, the primary concern is going to be what is in the best interests of the child(ren) in question. If your social media accounts are riddled with pictures of partying, excessive alcohol, risky behavior, or deplorable living conditions, all of it can negatively impact the allocation of parental responsibilities. If, however, your social media is an ode to your skills as a loving, responsible, and involved parent, this may positively influence a parental responsibilities determination.

Final Thoughts

While your presence on social media has the potential to influence a court, posting anything, no matter how benign you may believe it to be, can be risky. When a family law matter is commenced, it’s frequently sound advice to “go dark” on social media, so to speak. Because of the nature of social media, the message of a post might not come across as intended, or a post may include damning information not recognized by you when posting. So as tough as it may be, it may be best to hold off on posting on social media, at least until your case is complete. If you have concerns about the impacts of social media on your case, take the time to talk to an attorney. Here at MFL, we specialize in family law and we offer free consultations with our team of attorneys. Give us a call today for a free consultation with one of our family law attorneys.

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