Technology & Divorce – Social Media and Digital Nuptials
What role does your social media activity play in a divorce proceeding and is there a way to protect yourself so your postings and photos are kept private?
Jonathan Marks, attorney and owner of The Marks Law Firm, appeared on TNtv to continue his discussion of how new advancements in technology are impacting family law.
In the second of a three-part TNtv segment, Marks discussed the impact social media can have in domestic litigation.
Anything Posted Online Can Be Used in Court
Marks said that once a person posts a status update, Tweet, tag or photo, that information is open season for a spouse to use in a divorce proceeding.
He said the information is admissible in court and can be used to demonstrate that one’s arguments say one thing but his or her actions say another.
This is often the case in a worker’s comp lawsuit where someone says they are unable to work outside the home but post photos of themselves at the gym or traveling to an international destination.
Once a divorce proceeding becomes a reality Marks instructs his clients to immediately stop posting on social media.
Be Careful About Who You PM During a Divorce
Even private messages may be at risk. Those who have a family or community computer in the house may use the device to send personal messages a secret admirer. The person may walk away for a moment to do a household chore. Meantime an unsuspecting spouse could stroll by and see a surprising response. Suddenly these messages are no longer private.
One sure way to avoid social media embarrassment is to create a digital privacy clause as part of a pre-nuptial agreement. This clause ensures all texts, emails and online photos remain private. Should the marriage face a dissolution situation both spouses will be contractually bound to keep these matters under wraps and protect their children from future embarrassment.
Benefits of a Digital Privacy Clause in Divorce
Marks adds there are three benefits of a digital privacy clause.
- It ensures destruction of all particulars regarding conduct on the Internet.
- It ensures privacy within the relationship, limits exposure, and results in the spouses feeling more secure should the marriage end in divorce.
- It assures that all family members, children, business entities and associates are protected from viewing any questionable online activity that may occurred. The digital privacy clause acts as an insurance policy and prevents these items from ever becoming problematic in the future.
Watch the full episode of TNTv below, and don't miss part 3!