Social Media And Your Case

family law attorney
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  • The Law Offices of Ryan S. Dougay
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  • June 10, 2024

Social Media And Your Case

Quite a bit of our personal and professional lives show up somewhere on social media, be it on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, or wherever you travel electronically.  Ordinarily, the wrong post at the wrong time might get a bit awkward but in a legal case, it can quickly become disastrous.

Let’s start when you think there might be a case coming, you start a case or are served.  From that point on, you can’t clean up your social media. In fact, opposing counsel and later, judges, look very suspiciously at any ‘cleaning’ and as we have all discovered, nothing ever truly disappears from the internet.  So, best to look at your social media and if there’s anything that could affect your case, screenshot it and send it to your attorney under attorney client privilege.  This also applies to other electronic media like your email, accounts kept online, etc. If your attorney is aware in advance of any issues, there’s more potential for damage control than if your attorney discovers this information during the discovery process.

Once the case is in progress, just don’t post to social media concerning anything even slightly related to the case unless you want a judge reading it at some point or want to answer questions from the witness stand.  Remember that your first amendment rights to express yourself are quite valid in that the federal government can’t penalize you for your opinions but that doesn’t stop the other party in litigation or a judge from making you pay for your views.  For that matter, any media coverage of you might also prejudice your case.

Divorces are often enlivened by a party posting information that is highly inflammatory and creates new and interesting issues in their case. For example, posting on LinkedIn that you have changed jobs, creates a problem when you haven’t disclosed your new income and the change may well affect your child support or maintenance.  Equally damaging, posting on social media about teaching your child to paraglide when safety has been a huge issue in your divorce, might result in an immediate hearing and reduced parenting time.  The biggest issue tends to be that people are used to speaking their minds on social media and sharing information but for your case, that should be restricted to what you tell your own attorney.

Another issue is what other people say about you on social media.  For example, there was a confidential settlement where the plaintiff’s daughter posted all the details. This cost the plaintiff the entire settlement.  It’s a great idea to avoid sharing information on your case that can show up on social media.  Additionally, for those who need to know important information on your case, stress the importance of not discussing your case or posting on social media. 

If you have any concerns about an item like this that could be a liability, it’s time to check with your family law attorney before potentially damaging your case.

Thank you to our friend Julie Kreutzer, LLC for the above blog.