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Can social media be used as evidence in divorce cases?


Taking a picture or posting a status update on a social media website could be one of the worst decisions a divorcing couple could make and one which has the potential to completely change the outcome of the divorce. Many New York residents do not realize that information shared on social media can be used as evidence by and against parties in all issues such as child custody, support, alimony and property division.

Emails and texts are not only admissible; they can even be subpoenaed as evidence. This means whenever something is revealed through a text message but has not been revealed in court, it can be introduced through the personal messages.

More importantly, financial information can be gleamed from social media. Even though incomes are rarely posted about online, pictures can tell the whole story. For example, if someone is claiming a low income in court but is posting pictures of expensive vacations online, it could reduce their chances of receiving alimony. Other websites can demonstrate side businesses through which one party is earning extra money they might have been trying to hide to avoid making large monthly payments. Additionally, many use social media to check into locations, demonstrating where a person is and who they are with. If the person is supposed to be taking care of their children during the time she was inebriated with friends, and is going through a custody battle at the same time, the evidence may be used against her.

Getting information, financial and personal, has never been easier than it is during the digital age. It is very important to be careful about one is posting online during and before the divorce, to ensure it is not used against one out of context. Similarly, it may be beneficially to keep an eye on a future ex's digital presence as well.

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