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How Social Media Could Affect Your Illinois Divorce

 Posted on December 14, 2022 in Divorce

Kane County Divorce AttorneyIt is hard to imagine a world without social media, yet these sites have only been around for about 20 years or so. There is no debate over how quickly sites like Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok have become a crucial part of society, with many users posting much information about their lives on a daily basis. Scroll down any site’s news feed, and you will likely find an abundance of information regarding your family, friends, coworkers, and acquaintances—the good, the bad, and the ugly. But, can posting all this personal information have an effect on the outcome of a couple’s divorce or child custody dispute?

Many family law attorneys will instruct their clients to carefully limit what they post to their social media sites and may instruct them to stay away from these sites completely until their divorce case is settled. On the other side of the coin, attorneys also use these sites to gather evidence against the other spouse, and even innocent postings can be spun to cause serious damage to the other side’s case.

Social Media Posts Often Lack Context

It is not uncommon for a person’s social media to be used to call their parenting abilities into question. For example, a person who is a very good parent, completely involved and responsible in their child’s life, might go out with friends one night—something that is a rare occasion for them. A photo of the group of friends out and having a good time at a nightclub and toasting each other ends up on Facebook. Suddenly, that photo is being introduced as evidence in a child custody proceeding in an effort to suggest that the person is an irresponsible parent who drinks too much. As the old saying goes, “A picture is worth a thousand words,” and without the proper context, such a photo could certainly create a less than flattering impression.

Scenarios like the one described above can also be used by the other side to accuse the person of being involved in extramarital affairs or inappropriate behavior, calling the person’s character into question. Innocent banter between friends on a social media post can be used in the same way. Although Illinois does not require grounds for divorce, these types of accusations can be used as leverage during discussions of parental responsibilities and negotiations regarding asset division.

Financial Concerns

Social media can also be used to try to suggest unreported income or other assets. During the divorce process, each side is required to provide a full disclosure of all their assets. If a spouse who has claimed a limited income suddenly starts posting photos or status comments that indicate otherwise, the other spouse’s attorney could use such posts to argue that the spouse is hiding assets. Again, the lack of context is key.

Consider a situation in which you have been saving for a trip to the Bahamas with your friends for many months—possibly during the period when you were separated from your spouse. You scrimped and saved and worked extra shifts to be able to treat yourself despite your pending divorce. In addition, you managed to score an amazing package deal on your airfare and hotel accommodations. It is understandable that you would want to take pictures and share your experiences on social media. The photos alone, however, could be spun by your spouse’s attorney to suggest that you are actually better off than your financial disclosure indicated, regardless of the truth of the matter. You would have the chance to explain the situation to the judge, but the existence of the pictures could make things decidedly uncomfortable.

Contact a Kane County Family Lawyer

If you are considering filing for divorce, it is a good idea to work closely with an experienced Geneva divorce attorney who can help you come up with a strategy for managing your social media postings during the proceedings. Call 630-844-8781 to schedule a confidential consultation with a member of the team at Serrano Hanson today.





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