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Online and text message content may influence a divorce

On Behalf of | May 6, 2020 | Divorce |

Some people would prefer to keep their divorce confidential, but they do not have control over what a soon-to-be ex-spouse posts online. While false statements about an individual could result in a defamation suit, negative content in general may draw unwanted attention to a couple’s private affairs. It is therefore often advisable to secure a new email address at the outset of a divorce to ensure privacy of communications.

Spouses with shared social media networks often have the same friends and relatives in their contact lists. When two spouses stop communicating with each other, their mutual friends could begin to unintentionally act as a bridge between the two. Coming across comments related to a spouse’s new life could bring up resentment or negative feelings that add stress to a divorce. 

Text messages may not pass the confidentiality test

Sending and receiving text messages may complicate property and asset division. As reported by Forbes magazine, after filing for a divorce, a soon-to-be ex-spouse’s legal team could request call records or text messages

Mobile phone records can serve as evidence to prove when a spouse purchased and used expensive assets. Date and timestamps of text communications could indicate a new car or a trip to an undisclosed vacation home. Purchases of large items such as cars and boats may also violate the automatic orders which allow expenditures during divorce litigation if the expense is for ordinary living expenses or legal and expert fees. 

Under New York’s equitable distribution system, both spouses have a right to a fair share of property that they acquired during their marriage. If a timestamp from a text message shows that one spouse made a large purchase, the court may consider it part of a couple’s marital property. 

Online content could serve as evidence to request increased financial support

It is common for social media users to post images and video footage of new vehicles, vacations or recent purchases. An individual requesting alimony or spousal maintenance may, however, make use of such content. These posts could serve as evidence that an ex-spouse could afford more substantial spousal maintenance payments. The court may request more detailed information if a spouse provides financial records that do not match the images posted online. 

When someone prefers not to expose details about their personal matters, it may help to deactivate profiles or accounts connected to a soon-to-be ex-spouse. Creating new online accounts without adding mutual friends and relatives can prevent divorcing individuals from having unwanted interactions with each other. Any couple considering divorce should be very conscious of what information they are sending and posting online.