When ending a marriage, spouses need to file a complaint and undergo a legal action. They may try to get information to bolster their position in divorce settlement negotiations or court. Social media has proven to be an evidence bonanza for some spouses in these cases.
In 2015, 97 percent of surveyed members by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers reported an increase in evidence coming from smartphones and other wireless devices. Sixty-seven percent of respondents said that most evidence came from apps. Facebook was the highest at 41 percent. Twitter was second at 17 percent. Instagram was third followed by other apps like Find My iPhone, Snapchat, Google, WhatsApp and Tinder.
Soon-to-be former spouses may continue to gain access from the other party's accounts or friends may turn over information. E-discovery or social discovery tools can conduct a wide search to locate another person's online presence. A social media post can harm a spouse's position on spousal or child support and child custody and visitation or diminish their general credibility.
There are numerous examples of a social media post backfiring. A husband arguing to reduce his spousal support payments because he could no longer afford them nonetheless posted Instagram photos of skiing with his girlfriend in Japan and his trip to see the show "Hamilton." These posts were used in the divorce proceeding.
Even seemingly innocent posts can have consequences. One spouse posted about the extent of her anger. Her husband was later passed up for a promotion. His attorney blamed this on her social media postings.
A spouse should seek legal advice on social media and other guidance during the divorce. An attorney can also help find important information about their soon-to-be former spouse.