Not only is Facebook a popular forum on which to share both happy news and exciting events in life, but it is also popular for venting in periods of distress. At what can be the most emotional time in a person’s life it is easy to forget that when posting online, the information you share can come back to haunt you. We caution clients that Facebook is being used increasingly often as a rich source of evidence in Family Court matters.
When going through a separation, there are a few “do’s” and “don’ts” when it comes to posting on social media platforms:
- Make sure you are aware of your privacy settings on Facebook. Your profile may not be open to the public, but individual posts may be, as well as check-ins and personal information. Remove any old posts or photos that may be used to your disadvantage.
- Remove from your friends’ list your ex-partner, their friends, and anyone you think may have reason to use information you post against you. Unfortunately, in separation, friends can take sides, and ex partners frequently rely on mutual friends to see what their ex is up to, where they take the children, and if they have re-partnered.
- Change your tagged photo settings so that you are required to review and approve a tagged picture or status before it appears on your profile. It is also worth asking friends to carefully consider what they share on their own pages about you during this time.
- Do not air your dirty laundry on social media. Not only is it uncomfortable for family and friends who read your posts, it can also have a detrimental effect on your case if your ex partner’s lawyer gets their hands on the screenshots.
- Do not post photos of your new exciting #singlelife. Photos of boozy dinners and champagne brunch may seem innocent but can be quickly misconstrued against you in a parenting case. Similarly, photos of expensive purchases and holidays can affect your division of assets in a property matter after being used as evidence that you’re not really struggling financially at all.
- Do not announce a new relationship if you are still negotiating parenting or property arrangements with your previous partner. Even the most amicable of separations can become unhinged when a new partner comes into the mix.
Overall, treat your social media platforms during separation as you would when applying for a job, and remember, anything you post may one day end up in front of a Judge!