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Facebook Fiasco – When Social Media and Family Law Collide

Contemplating divorce? Separated, or divorced with a “challenging” ex-spouse? If you’re a Facebook junkie, carefully consider the content of your FB page!

Facebook is regularly used these days by divorce lawyers (including yours truly). It’s amazing how much unflattering (and potentially damaging) “stuff” people post for the world to see. More often than not, FB users have loose security settings. The result? “Friends” of friends can see all the information you post.

Keep this in mind – if you are arguing with an ex-spouse over your financial condition, child or spousal support, the value of a business, custody and timesharing of the kids, etc., your Facebook page could be your worst enemy. Ex-spouses can sit and watch it, looking for evidence to trip you up in court. Oh, and boy are they good at it. I know this first-hand, because clients routinely provide me with unflattering content from an ex’s social media ramblings. Often this is good, very good, ammo for me to use in the zealous representation of my client.

What might your Facebook page reveal? Your dating habits. Your partying habits. Tidbits about your financial condition. Nasty comments about your ex, in a forum where your kids are “friends” on your Facebook page. Information that appears to contradict facts you’ve stated to the court in a declaration signed under penalty of perjury. And on, and on…

To make matters worse, many people forget to “de-friend” their ex-spouses. Sometimes its intentional. You might be afraid that “de-friending” will rock the boat. Or perhaps you want to make the ex jealous or “one-up” them by showing how successful you are or that your “relationship status” has changed for the better. Ahh, but remember, “pride cometh before a fall…”

So, when facing domestic relations challenges, what’s the smartest course of action? For total safety, get by without Facebook. At the very least, understand the security settings and set them to the max – and be smart about what you post! And let’s not forget all the other digital tools out there. Be cautious with your text messages, emails and Twitter – especially if you are involved in another relationship before a divorce is final.

Facebook and other social media is fun, and many of us love being connected to the world this way. But when it comes to your family matters, it may be worth “going dark” for awhile so you don’t light up the courtroom with unintended evidence against you.

Kelly Bennett is with Bennett & Bennett, APC located at 27368 Via Industria, Suite 112, in Temecula. She may be reached at (951) 719-3456 –