We have all seen it before: A friend or family member airs their dirty laundry out on Facebook. Maybe you have even been that friend or family member. It’s understandable. Facebook is always there for us, just a few clicks away, when we need to vent.
However, it is typically better to take a step back and think things through rather than acting on your impulse to share your personal feelings with Facebook users near and far. In time, you might decide to pick up the phone to confide in a trusted friend instead. This is usually the right choice, especially when your problem involves a legal matter like divorce or child custody and placement.
Social media and legal disputes do not mix well — unless, perhaps, it is you who uses someone else’s social media postings as evidence against them.
All online posts, including Tweets, blogs and emails, can be used as evidence in Wisconsin courts.
What you post on Facebook or share on any other social media site has the potential of being used against you in a court of law. It is very important not to post anything that could reflect poorly upon you. This includes everything from vents about your ex, which could be frowned upon in court; negative comments about the judge or lawyers involved in your case, which will surely get back to the judge; and even photos of you staying out late at parties, which could be used to argue that you are immature, or even an unfit parent.
Aren’t Your Facebook Posts Private?
Many people have an expectation that only their Facebook friends can see their posts. However, many Wisconsin family law attorneys are Internet-savvy, and they will scour the Web for posts that can help them prove their cases.
While Facebook offers a wide variety of privacy settings, err on the side of caution if you are going through a divorce or child custody case. Every post you publish is documented evidence of your character and lifestyle. It is a good rule of thumb to refrain from commenting about your spouse and/or the other parent, his or her lawyer, and the judge on social media for the duration of your case. Additionally, always consider whether other posts could be used against you as evidence. If so, don’t post. You should also advise your friends and family that they should not post negative comments either. This could indirectly negatively affect you as well.
When it comes to divorce, if you cannot say anything nice, please do not put it in writing. And, certainly don’t put it on social media.