Made You Look

How Your Social Media Matters in Your Court Case

If you are reading this, you are on social media, on one of the many platforms which continuously changes how you communicate, receive news and connect with others in our personal and professional lives. You connect with family, friends, and professional connections.  These casual conversations of emojis, videos, photographs, comments, and text become critical in a legal proceeding and can create potential headaches.  Inevitably, relevant, discoverable evidence lies within the social media accounts of at least one person involved in a litigation.

As a social media user, be conscious of what you post, your tone, and who sees your content. On any day, your social media posts let others interpret your life as they choose, not always as you intend. One easy step allows you to control who sees your posts: Only accept “friend” and “follower” requests from people you know. This security setting protects your content from being available to the entire public. Additionally, you can and should use the feature which requires you to review and approve any comment or photo that someone else wants to post on your social media profile, especially if you do not frequently check your accounts.

On social media, we portray the best version of ourselves. We love posting pictures of that great party, a fun vacation, that shiny new car, or humble bragging about accomplishments.  Think twice before posting.  Simply put, emails, texts, tweets and posts can be used in Court.

There are some urgent, timely changes, especially during a divorce, custody case, or support action, that you may want to make to protect yourself and the others in the family. Talk to your attorney about of your social media habits.  Identify all accounts and consider changing all the passwords, even if you believe that the passwords are secret, secure and cannot be guessed. Passwords can be stored on, or across, devices and we want our clients to have the privacy that they believe exists.

Lawyers may not, however, give any advice to direct or even suggest that social media content be destroyed.  We can, however, talk to you about damage control.  If you want to take a break from social media during litigation, you can deactivate but not delete the account.  Generally, just like your bank records, you have an obligation to preserve possible evidence.

For more information about social media during your family law case, contact Cohn Lifland for a free summary sheet to help you get started.