If you are involved in a Texas Divorce or Child Custody case, you should become aware of what you share and post online.
In the age of the internet, we have become comfortable sharing (and over-sharing!) every moment of our lives online with the people we are connected to – but these electronic communications can become dangerous tools against you in your Texas Divorce.
Keep reading to find out what can be used against you and how you can minimize the negative effects of your online presence during your divorce.
What Kind of Social Media Content is Admissible in Court?
Social Media & Networking Sites
Social media and social networking websites, such as Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter can all be introduced used against you in court proceeding. Screenshots, print-outs of images, status updates, tweets, location check-ins, and other electronic evidence can be gathered in order to contradict statements or question conduct. It is in your best interest to maintain your profiles carefully and to exercise extreme caution with what you post and share.
E-Mails, Online Messaging, and Text Messages
Both e-mails and text messages are admissible in court, and can be subpoenaed, meaning you would have to provide the court with the records that were requested.
When sending electronic messages of any sort to anyone during the time when a court case is happening, or potentially could happen, be careful and honest with your words, because you never know who may end up reading them.
Online Dating Profiles
During a divorce, the creation and active use of an online dating profile by a married party may be admissible as electronic evidence.
Any false statements used on the profile may be used to challenge the testimony and reliability of the speaking party – such as misrepresentations of marital status. The dating profile may even be used for evidence of fault in the divorce stemming from infidelity.
Even if you and your spouse have separated, hold off on hitting the world of online dating until your divorce has been finalized in order to best protect yourself.
Is Your Information Online Actually Protected?
You may think that your privacy settings on your social media websites are set strictly – with your information, posts, and photos only visible to those given access. However, there are still many ways that your information can still be accessed.
Perhaps someone who you have granted access to your posts and profiles may pass along screenshots, or maybe your security isn’t as air-tight as you hope. In this age of information, there are very few things done online that are truly private and protected, so make sure you use discretion and tact with everything you put onto the internet.
How You Can Protect Yourself
First and foremost, the best way to avoid negative consequences from your online accounts, texts, and e-mails is to limit your use of them! By minimizing your social media presence, you can reduce the chance of something you post being used against you in court. A good rule is that if you don’t want a judge to read it, don’t post it! Even if the post seems harmless at the time it is posted, the best course of action is to remain inactive online during your divorce.
In addition, a regular review of the security settings of every social media account you maintain is a good exercise to see what information is made public and what is private. Additionally, consider checking all inactive accounts you once used that may still show up by Google search or direct website searches.
If you are not yet involved in a divorce or custody proceeding, you may want to consider deactivating your social media accounts. However, once proceedings have begun, removing information from accounts and social media sites may have legal repercussions, so make sure you discuss your options and rights with your Family Law Attorney before scrubbing your online presence.
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