Years ago, the only way to prove that your spouse was cheating on you was to hire a private investigator. Unless you were able to take pictures of your spouse with his paramour yourself, you needed to hire someone. Phone records only provided so much information.
Now that we have the internet, nothing is sacred. Just ten years ago, there were some courts that didn’t allow social media posts to be used as evidence. Now, a Houston divorce lawyer will warn their clients about the dangers of social media.
With the advent of social media has comes a whole new type of evidence. Once you post something on Facebook or Twitter, it’s out there for the world to see. Even if you delete something, it doesn’t always go away. People can take screen prints of your posts.
If you think only your close friends can see your posts, you’re wrong. Depending on your settings, a lot of what you post may be available for the world to see. Even if you do limit your privacy settings, there is the 6 degrees of separation factor.
Every time you post something on your friend’s timeline, their friends can see it. When your friend shares your post, all of her friends’ friends will see it. The cycle goes on and on.
Social Media Can Cause a Divorce
Social media hasn’t just affected how divorces are handled. They actually contribute to the number of divorces filed. With sites like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, people are privy to all kinds of shenanigans.
More than ever before, spouses are learning things about their mates that they may not want to know. Pictures, videos and comments reveal a lot about people. More marriages have broken up over social media than anything else. In fact, over 1/3 of all divorces filed today are based on affairs discovered using social media.
When someone’s having an affair, they do a good job of hiding it. At least they think they do. What they don’t realize is that the person they’re having an affair with may not be as careful. If a married man is carrying on an affair with a single woman, she has nothing to lose. She’s proud of her relationship and has no problem posting about it online.
So, what do you do when your friend comes to you with pictures of your husband with another woman? You’re going to question him about it. But not until after you’ve done a bit of digging online.
Social Media Posts Can Also be Used During Your Divorce
Once you’ve decided to file for divorce, your Houston divorce lawyer will look for evidence online. He isn’t really doing this in order to prove grounds for divorce. Almost all divorces are based on irreconcilable differences today. So, you don’t need proof that your spouse was cheating to do this.
However, once the divorce has been filed, social media can be a nail in your spouse’s coffin. Let’s say that your spouse is arguing he doesn’t have the ability to pay alimony. Yet you see he’s posted pictures of a new boat or truck on Facebook.
Your lawyer can use this information to prove that your spouse has more money than he claims. But keep in mind – social media works both ways. Your spouse’s lawyer is going to be looking for the same kind of ammo online.
If you’re receiving alimony and your ex sees a post that you’re living with a new boyfriend, he’s going to file a motion to terminate alimony. Or, if he discovers somehow that he’s paying child support for a child that isn’t his, he’s going to take you to court.
Are There Limitations on How Social Media Can Be Used in Court?
Social media evidence is subject to the same rules of evidence as everything else. It comes down to reliability and credibility. Even if a piece of evidence is admitted, that doesn’t mean it will carry much weight.
For example, if you submit a picture of your spouse sitting on an expensive motorcycle, that doesn’t mean the judge will believe he owns the bike. Your Houston divorce lawyer will still have to prove that the asset belongs to your spouse.
The one limitation on social media is when it comes to your children. No judge is going to let social media be used to hurt your children. No matter how probative the evidence is, the court isn’t going to let it be used to harm your children.
Contact a Houston Divorce Lawyer Today
If you’re filing for divorce, you need to call and speak with a Houston divorce lawyer. He can answer any questions you may have about social media and your case.