Social media has taken the world by storm. No longer just a young person’s game, people of all ages are using social media, especially Facebook, to connect with old friends, keep up with family, and make new friends.
These days, social media is affecting practically everything. From fitness to pop culture to music to fashion trends to cooking and baking and even divorce. To illustrate our point, think for a moment, is there anyone among your friends and family who does not have a Facebook account?
If you’re like the average person between the ages of 14 and 70, you’ll have a hard time coming up with names of people who are not at least on Facebook, though more (and more) people now have an Instagram and Snapchat account. Social media is influencing virtually all aspects of our lives and the courtroom is not immune. When it comes to a divorce case, social media evidence can play a significant role.
Which Evidence is Admissible?
According to The National Law Review, 81% of lawyers discover social media evidence that is worth presenting in court, and 66% of cases use the Facebook platform to obtain the majority of evidence. But is all evidence admissible in court? No, not all evidence can be used in a divorce case. For example, an opposing attorney cannot open a fake account to “friend” or “connect” with their client’s spouse to obtain evidence.
Generally, public posts that can be inspected by anyone are fair game and can be submitted as evidence in court. If a “friend” or “connection” on a spouse’s social media account shares a post or text and that secondary post is seen by the spouse’s ex, that too, can typically be legally used as evidence in a divorce case.
It is important to note that you should not delete items from your social media for the purpose of “hiding” bad evidence if you have a reason to believe that litigation may be coming. This may be considered spoliation of evidence. However, it is worth discussing your situation with a family law attorney to determine the best way to deal with any social media evidence that may hurt your case.