Text messages as evidence increasing in divorce cases

No matter the social network, people are more digitally connected than ever. Facebook alone has over 1.2 billion profiles on its network and Twitter has nearly 250 million active users, according to Business Insider.

As these networks help people stay connected and share the details of their lives, they can do just as much harm to those that are going through a separation or divorce if the wrong information is posted.

More social network evidence used in divorce cases

According to a Reuters report and a survey by the American Association of Matrimonial Lawyers, the use of Facebook and other social media as evidence in divorce cases is increasing. A 2010 survey by the AAML noted a "surge" in the number of divorce cases using Facebook as some form of evidence.

But a more recent report from 2012 has noticed another uptick in a different form of communication - text messages. Reuters notes that 90 percent of attorneys surveyed by the AAML saw the use of evidence gathered from text messages and smartphones increase from 2009-2012. The Huffington Post notes that 94 percent of lawyers surveyed by the AAML have seen the use of text messages specifically increase over that time.

The past is forever

While it's common advice to avoid sharing or texting anything you wouldn't want the whole world to know, it is sometimes overlooked that friends on social networks may inadvertently share information that could be harmful as well.

Posting and sharing as little information as possible while going through a divorce is often the best approach, but if using Facebook or other social media outlets is a must, certain precautions should be taken to prevent unwanted or unintended information from being used against you, according to the Huffington Post.

  • Avoid airing grievances about your spouse online.
  • Rely on in-person communications rather than online.
  • Do not respond to questions about your relationship through social media.
  • Close the accounts if possible and reopen them after the divorce is final.

Experts also warn that users of social media and text messaging should assume everything you write or post is public; and if you are involved in an ongoing divorce, assume a judge will read them at some point.

Getting help

When a marriage breaks down, it can be emotionally challenging for all involved. For those considering divorce, it is important to speak with a family law attorney who can explain and help you through the process. An experienced lawyer can help you understand how your actions outside the courtroom will affect your results inside.