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Smith Welch Webb & White Blog

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Divorce and the Digital Trail

There has always been a certain level of personal scrutiny during divorce cases, and social media has proven to be a plentiful source of evidence during a divorce trial. In fact, the vast majority of divorce cases now include evidence collected from social media and networking sites. 

Contradictions:

The number one way social media can cause your divorce case to sink or succeed is by providing evidence that contradicts what is being said in court. Lying in the courtroom is a crime, and social media may prove financial documents, statements and alibies wrong. While judges may show empathy for human flaws, they are not lenient with lying.

Additionally, photos posted of new cars and other large purchases may indicate a financial situation that is very different than the image being presented in court. New dating profiles, premature status changes from "married" to "single," and pictures from wild weekend get-aways may also be used as evidence of personal conduct not well suited for child rearing.

Access to Social Media Evidence:

Simply "unfriending" someone or removing incriminating photos from your social media profile will not completely cover your trail. Mutual friends may be monitoring pages for evidence, and screenshots may have been taken before pictures and posts were removed.

Some divorce attorneys advise that clients completely shut down their social media profiles altogether. Even if you have ceased updating your own social media accounts, you may be tagged in posts and pictures by friends and co-workers. Pictures that show evidence of drinking and partying - or even some location-based status updates - may affect the ruling on child custody and parenting time.

Following the Digital Trail:

While Facebook remains the most popular place to socialize online, the digital trail goes far beyond that social network. LinkedIn profiles can be scoured to ensure that the financial picture being presented in court is consistent with the professional profile presented online. LinkedIn endorsements, awards at professional events and blurbs in industry trade publications can provide insight into career paths and salary ranges.

The path to digital evidence can even lead beyond social and professional networking sites. Emails, texts, cellphone, and GPS records may be subpoenaed and admissible in court.

Overall, it's important to remember that everyone leaves a large digital footprint in today's society. That's why it's important to work with an attorney who is well-versed in technology and knows how it can be utilized effectively in your favor, as well as advise on what steps should be taken to protect yourself.

For more information on this topic, contact Elizabeth Pool here or call (770) 775-3188 to schedule an appointment. Smith, Welch, Webb and White is recognized as a premier law firm throughout the state of Georgia. Our team of experts routinely handles a wide range of legal matters, and will provide outstanding service for you, your family or your business.

 

Any representations regarding the law in this Blog is made available for educational purposes only as well as to give you general information and a general understanding of the law, not to provide specific legal advice. By using this blog site you understand that there is no attorney client relationship between you and the Blog publisher. The Blog should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed professional attorney in your state.


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