What you write, post, Tweet, re-Tweet, blog, Share and Tag can and will be used against you in Divorce Court
In my Valentine's Day post I warned us all about the hottest new marriage-wrecking trend of finding — and being found by — old flames on Facebook. Well, social media and human idiocy have conspired yet again to create an even more cutting-edge way to be a jerk. But, as with all new technologies that cause despair, there is always an upside. If you happen to be divorcing such a jerk, you and your lawyer now have an explosive new weapon in your divorce arsenal.
If you're a guy in the middle of a divorce, here's what NOT to do:
Call your soon-to-be ex-wife, and in a whispery, horse voice (cough, cough), tell her you can't take the kids this weekend because you are berry, berry sick. And, while she's feeling sorry for you, casually mention that you've had a really rough month and can't pay as much child support as you verbally promised. Your divorce is not final yet and you are still hammering out the details so it's not like you're not abiding by a court order or anything.
Then, while in Cabo that weekend with Britney, your 22-year-old girlfriend, get so psyched about your fabulous new mid-life life that you take all kinds of sexy, exciting Tequilia-shots-on-tummies photos and forget to tell Britney not to post them all on Facebook, with captions like, well, you're adults. I'll leave the captions to your imagination.
If you're his soon-to-be ex-wife, here's what TO do:
If you're social-media savvy, you'll know that since your soon-to-be ex, let's just call him Dan, you'll know that your kids are Facebook friends with Dan's girlfriend, Britney, so you can see her Wall photos through their pages. (Brit didn't even know Facebook had privacy settings, or whatever, and she's not really thinking too clearly about the public presentation of her image. She's not worried about finding a job because Sugar Daddy Dan is gonna take care of all that.)
Get the pictures, capture them by saving the screen, and send them HIGH PRIORITY to your lawyer. If you are technologically challenged, either hire a local student (who does not know your kids) or ask your lawyer. Takes 10 minutes, tops.
Welcome to the hottest, most cutting-edge technological trend in divorce. No need to hire a private investigator or follow him yourself in the family station wagon. The trail of deceit comes right to your living room.
De-Friend before you Di-Vorce
All the cool lawyers are doing it, according to a survey of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers reported by the Associated Press on msnbc.com in a story titled 'Facebook is Divorce Lawyers' New Best Friend':
"Forgot to de-friend your wife on Facebook while posting vacation shots of your mistress? Her divorce lawyer will be thrilled. Oversharing on social networks has led to an overabundance of evidence in divorce cases. The American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers says 81 percent of its members have used or faced evidence plucked from Facebook, MySpace, Twitter and other social networking sites, including YouTube and LinkedIn, over the last five years.
"Oh, I've had some fun ones," said Linda Lea Viken, president-elect of the 1,600-member group. "It's very, very common in my new cases." Facebook is the unrivaled leader for turning virtual reality into real-life divorce drama, Viken said. Sixty-six percent of the lawyers surveyed cited Facebook foibles as the source of online evidence, she said. MySpace followed with 15 percent, followed by Twitter at 5 percent. "This sort of evidence has gone from nothing to a large percentage of my cases coming in, and it's pretty darn easy," Viken said.
The story included the following examples of Exes Gone Wild:
"…Husband goes on Match.com and declares his single, childless status while seeking primary custody of said nonexistent children.
…Husband denies anger management issues but posts on Facebook in his "write something about yourself" section: "If you have the balls to get in my face, I'll kick your ass into submission."
…Mom denies in court that she smokes marijuana but posts partying, pot-smoking photos of herself on Facebook."
More advice to come...
Fear not. As a public service to both sides, in a future post I will offer tips and advice on how to clean up your social media act and what to do if your ex gets freaky on Facebook.
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