Technology plays a significant role in many people’s lives, including couples filing for divorce. Like any form of litigation, family law cases involve evidence, and social media has proven itself one of the fastest emerging forms of evidence in divorce cases.
So, how can technology affect your divorce? To avoid suffering the consequences of misused technology during your case, stay informed. Seek to understand the technology – such as social media - you use every day and how it could work to your benefit or disadvantage in the courtroom. With the right information and strategies, technology can give you the upper hand in court.
Websites & Smartphone Apps Cause Divorce, Research Shows
3.32 billion website pages call the internet home, and smartphone platforms offer millions of applications to users. In many divorce proceedings, content on websites and applications finds its way into the courtroom as grounds for divorce, child custody arrangements, child support agreements, alimony, and more. Two applications – both relatively new – are leaders in this arena: Tinder and Ashley Madison.
Tinder is an app designed to match users with compatible partners. It uses global positioning system (GPS) technology to find people in the user’s area who are looking to date or engage in sexual activities. While Tinder markets itself to singles, the potential for extra-marital affairs is obvious, which create grounds for divorce if discovered.
Under the brazen tagline, “Life is short, Have an Affair,” Ashely Morgan offers similar services, but for married persons seeking an extramarital affair. With more than 21 million users across the globe, Ashley Morgan strives to offer extramarital affairs with no strings attached.
When it comes to filing for a divorce though, “no strings attached” couldn’t be farther from the truth. In fact, a judge in France recently ruled that flirting on a dating website merits divorce, even if the relationship never progressed to any “physical contact.”
Facebook: Is it Legal to Log into My Ex’s Account?
A strong divorce case, like any legal proceeding, relies on information gathering. According to researchers, social media is a popular tool spouses use to get information about each other during a divorce or family law dispute. In fact, as many as one third of divorce proceedings include the word “Facebook” during the legal process.
Facebook is a prime source of information for spouses during divorce. An angry spouse could misconstrue even innocent photos and status updates against you. On the other hand, you may find legitimate evidence to bolster your divorce settlement.
In one case, a mother told family courts she had no gang affiliation, but her Facebook profile displayed pictures of her with known gang members. Another photograph showed her giving her child a temporary tattoo with gang-related connotations. This information influenced the outcome of her child custody settlement.
Another case – one involving an affair near the time of the divorce – concluded when the husband’s Facebook profile advertised photographs of him and his girlfriend on a posh vacation, even though he denied having a girlfriend or income.
Can I legally Use My Ex’s Facebook Information in Court?
Hacking into an ex’s Facebook without permission is a privacy violation. However, social media information on a public profile is fair game in the courtroom. Facebook users with public profiles have reasonable expectation of privacy if they fail to conceal their photo albums, comments, etc.
A Word of Advice on Social Media and Divorce
If you’re going through a divorce, review your privacy settings on all social media platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. If your information and whereabouts are public, anything you post online may become part of your divorce case. If you’d rather not display this information, set your profile to private and remove applicable persons from your online contacts, friends, or connections.
- Change your passwords
- Don’t “friend” strangers on Facebook
- Ask your family members and close friends to be wary of unfamiliar Facebook friend requests
- Avoid sharing information on Twitter
- Avoid Snapchat and sending Snapchat pictures
- Review your LinkedIn account for accuracy
- Do a brief search for yourself on Google to find public photos and information
Need a Divorce Attorney? Contact Stolar Law Group Today
Stolar & Fisher offers high-quality legal guidance in all matters related to divorce. Our Los Angeles divorce lawyers have decades of combined legal experience, and our legal team includes a board certified family law specialist. Let us help you protect your rights. Call now to schedule your first consultation or fill out our online contact form at your earliest convenience.