Facebook is a Trap for Litigants
Facebook is a trap for people involved in domestic relations litigation. If you are getting divorced or litigating in Family Court you should stay off of Facebook. At the least, you should not post anything related to your case or that could be construed as being related to it.
I have seen Facebook become a part of many litigated cases over the past few years. Some of the more memorable ways in which it has reared up in a custody matter or divorce include:
- Our client posted a family photo with her husband cropped out in a very obvious and hurtful manner. This upset her children and the Judge;
- Our client’s ex-husband posted on his wall “what is the different between and ex- wife and a @#%&?????——-nothing”. This upset their teenage sons, who saw it on Facebook and the Judge, who saw the exhibit in court;
- Our client’s ex-wife sent a Facebook message to their daughter saying “I am no longer your mother; you have betrayed me”. This was on December 24. You can imagine how Christmas went.
- While still in the process of getting divorced our client posted that she was “In a relationship” with someone other than her husband. This made negotiating a settlement much harder;
- Our client’s ex-boyfriend posted photos of himself apparently very intoxicated while at a party with lots of beer cans visible and scantily clad young ladies. These photos were time stamped on a weekend during which he had his visitation with his two young children. He now has less visitation.
You get the idea I am sure.
Sometimes it is seemingly innocuous posts that cause problems. For example, a recently separated client, whose husband thought that she was having an affair posted “There is nothing like a love note.” When I called her to ask what she was doing by posting this, since her husband already thought that she already had a boyfriend, she told me that she was referring to a “love note” that her six year-old daughter had written to her in school that day. She did not think about how her estranged husband would interpret this post.
If you have kids who are over 13, they probably have a Facebook account. You probably are friends with them on Facebook. So they are going to see everything you post, be it as nasty as an overt attack on the other party or as simple as “I hope things go well at court today.” Too many kids have found out too much about their parents’ divorce or custody case through Facebook posts by their parents.
There simply is no reason to be posting on Facebook while getting a divorce or while involved in any domestic litigation. We all lived for many years without Facebook. A short hiatus from Facebook while dealing with our personal legal matters is a very good idea.