How Social Media Can Affect Your Illinois Divorce Case
How many times do you post to Facebook each day? What about Twitter? Or Instagram? Whatever your preferred social media network, the reality is that just about all of us rely on at least one of these outlets to share aspects of our daily lives. Unfortunately, this freedom often comes with a price, especially when it comes to divorce.
Using Facebook to Bash Your Ex can Just Make Things Worse
There is no doubt that social media plays a significant role in divorce cases. A 2010 survey conducted by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers in Chicago found that 81% of divorce attorneys saw an increase in the number of cases that utilized evidence from social media posts over the past five years. In most of those cases, Facebook posts were the main culprit.
All social media networks share certain characteristics that can cause problems in a marriage and subsequent divorce proceedings. As mentioned above, many of us are conditioned to post even small details of our daily activities for our followers to read. In many cases, this leads to some form of social media addiction. We simply cannot help but talk about what is on our minds. even though many of the people in our networks are complete strangers in real life.
This can lead to a number of problems. For example, maybe you think there is nothing wrong with complaining about your estranged spouse on Twitter in the midst of divorce proceedings. If your spouse sees or hears about this–and it is likely that he or she will–this can simply add fuel to the fire. Your spouse may become more combative in court, making it harder to reach a negotiated settlement.
You also need to consider that “airing your dirty laundry in public” may have consequences outside of your divorce case. For instance, if you are applying for a job, a prospective employer may scan your social media feed to get an idea of who you are. Do you really want a future boss reading about the intimate details of your divorce?
Then there are situations in which social media is used to facilitate cheating by one or both spouses. Although Illinois has now moved to a no-fault divorce system–you no longer need to prove a spouse was unfaithful–even the hint of cheating may aggravate an already tense situation.
Also note that while adultery is not, in and of itself, a factor in decisions to award marital property or alimony in an Illinois divorce, there may be other “incriminating” evidence on your social media feed that can be used against you in court. Let us say you post a bunch of pictures of you buying your new boyfriend or girlfriend an expensive piece of jewelry. Your spouse may cite this as proof that you were spending (or “dissipating,” in legal terms) marital assets on your affair–and the judge can definitely take that into account when resolving your case.
Contact the SAM LAW OFFICE Today if You Need Advice on Handling Your Divorce
Getting a divorce does not necessarily mean getting off of social media, but it does mean acting with a higher degree of discretion and caution. An experienced Wheaton divorce lawyer can offer more specific advice for your situation. Contact the SAM LAW OFFICE LLC today if you need to speak with a qualified divorce lawyer today.