Facebook and other social media platforms (Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, SnapChat, … the list grows daily) are a part of most of our everyday lives. We use social media to communicate with friends and family, stay up to date on the news, and to voice our opinions. And sometimes those opinions may get us into trouble.
It’s always a good idea to think twice before posting anything online, but it is especially crucial when you are involved in litigation or about to be involved in litigation. Whether you’re getting divorced, fighting a custody battle, facing criminal charges, are subject to an order of protection, or involved in any other type of lawsuit, your online posts and communications can, and probably will, be used against you. Always remember that nothing is truly private online.
We’ve all seen the news stories about people who Tweet or post on Facebook looking to buy drugs and the police responded to the posts. Yes, those are funny new stories, but those aren’t the routine. What’s more common? A husband posting comments about his Wife or making online threats; a Wife posting photographs with her boyfriend; one parent making disparaging remarks online about the other parent… Any social media post, blog, email, text message, or other form of communication that you make online could potentially be used in Court and is almost always discoverable by the other side.
Another big mistake? Trying to “cleanup” your social media after an action has been initiated either by you or against you. Once you are involved in litigation, you have a duty to preserve anything that may be evidence in the case even if it is evidence against you that may help the other side. Destroying, deleting, or changing your social media may be considered destruction or “spoliation” of evidence and you could be sanctioned for it by the judge and it could severely damage your case. It is not uncommon with the increasing use of technology for digital forensics to be involved in even small cases, so even if you think something was deleted it may come back to haunt you.
So, think twice before posting, and if divorce is in your future, you find yourself involved in a custody dispute, or you find yourself involved in a case of another type, contact the attorneys at the Collins Law Firm to schedule a consultation.