Best Practices: Social Media & Family Law Cases
In today's world, social media has become an all-encompassing and crucial aspect of life and the human experience. While it enables individuals to connect with others, it can also result in repercussions that could significantly affect your legal situation. It’s important to remember that everything on your social media can be used against you in a family law case, regardless of how old it is, how long it was posted for, if it is “private,” etc. It is advisable to consult with a lawyer before deleting anything from your social media, as it may have a negative impact on both you and your case. On the contrary, if you discover evidence, you may want to take a screenshot with the time and date and record web links of the content, if able. Following certain best practices can prevent social media from negatively affecting the outcome of your family law case.
1. Avoid talking about legal matters and the opposing party
This includes posts, likes, shares, comments, photos, videos, private messages, and more. Furthermore, talking about your family law case on social media or to others could impact your attorney-client privilege. It is advisable to seek support or share your feelings with people you trust, rather than relying on social media.
2. Make your profile private
Social media content, either public or private, is fair game to be used as evidence in a family law case. That being said, it’s important to minimize any content that might be readily accessible to the public by reviewing and adjusting your privacy settings. Although setting your social media content to private can limit the visibility of your information to some extent, it's important to note that there is no guarantee of complete privacy on the internet.
3. Change your passwords
Changing your passwords can proactively protect your information from others. This can be especially important if a spouse or partner knows the passwords and usernames to access your social media or email accounts.
4. Tagging and posting
If necessary, talk to friends and family and ask them to avoid posting about you or tagging you in social media content, especially regarding your family law case. While some content may seem harmless or not be created by you, it could reflect badly on you and your character and ultimately impact your case. Additionally, avoid posting about any illegal activity or posting content that talks about or displays drugs, alcohol, or firearms.
5. Engagement on social media
The amount of time you spend on social media can also reflect poorly on you. Be aware of how much time you are truly spending on social media and if needed, set reminders or use an app to limit your social media engagement.
In conclusion, exercise caution and be mindful of how you engage with social media while going through any legal proceedings. Adhering to the best practices above can help ensure that social media doesn’t negatively impact your case and lead to potentially devastating consequences. If you are unsure of something, seek legal counsel to better understand the best course of action for your specific situation.