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Social media can change divorce proceedings

As social media has increasingly become part of everyday life, some Georgia residents may wonder how using social media sites can impact a divorce. Not only can oversharing on social media make an already complicated divorce more so, but information posted online might also be used against the person who posted it.

A status or post that references a person's lawyer could potentially be used to argue that the person waived attorney-client privilege with regard to those matters, an a picture of a person simply holding an alcoholic beverage could be used as evidence of a drinking problem. Even posts that cannot be introduced directly as evidence may be used on cross-examination in some circumstances, according to a family law attorney in a recent piece on the subject.

For that reason, some attorneys recommend a social media blackout for anyone involved in a divorce. Even if a person removes a spouse's access to the profile, any mutual friends might choose to show posts to the spouse or tell that person what was said. The way to avoid that possibility is to post nothing at all. However, other attorneys suggest that abstaining entirely from posting might be unrealistic in today's society; instead, they suggest carefully reviewing privacy settings. One lawyer suggests not posting any reactions to anything that happens in the case. Using social media to comment on what happened in court could backfire if the judge finds out about it.

A family law attorney may be able to help advise divorcing clients on what information should not be made public and how to avoid having social media used negatively. On the flip-side, it may also be possible to review the other spouse's social media accounts to determine the best way to use them to the client's advantage.

Source: WTOP, "Navigating social media during a divorce", Neal Augenstein, September 06, 2013

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