Think Before You Delete: Destruction of Social Media Evidence

Everyone knows that what they post on social media can be used against them in divorce court, but not many people are aware that the same can be said for what is taken off of social media. Though there may come a time when you regret posting something online and want to delete it, if you are going through a divorce, think twice before doing so. The mere act of deleting a post from social media could be used against you as evidence in divorce court. At the Clark Law Group, our Dallas divorce attorneys will guide you on how to proceed throughout the divorce process to make sure that you do not do anything to unwittingly compromise your case.

“Spoliation” of Evidence

Spoliation is defined as the “intentional alteration or destruction of a document” that could have been used as evidence in litigation. Spoliation is illegal in that by destroying a document, you are essentially depriving the involved parties and the court of information that could have potentially swayed the outcome of the case. As social media continues to play a bigger and bigger role in our lives, its role in litigation has become increasingly important as well. Because of this, courts have come to view the deletion of posts and messages as spoliation, an action that may be punished in accordance with state law.

Deleting social media posts during a divorce, even if they are harmful to your case, can result in harsher consequences than had you left the evidence, as the destruction of evidence is illegal by both Texas state and federal standards. If you do not want your posts to be seen, make pages or even your profile private. Refrain from posting anything while your case is pending, as you never know what may come back to bite you. Finally, remember that if you do delete posts, pages, or a profile, there are always copies of that information available to be subpoenaed. If the other side believes the deleted information to be important to the case, they will have it subpoenaed.

What Kind of Information Can Be Used Against Me?

While the courts are not necessarily interested in the fact that you have a new partner, or that you bought a new car, they would be interested if those facts were somehow related to your pending divorce. For instance, if you posted a picture of you and your significant other on vacation, but tagged it “TBT to last summer when my honey and I went to Cancun,” and you did not file for divorce until January of the following year, the courts would be interested to learn that you were unfaithful and how that trip was funded. Texas is one of the few states that still allow a “fault divorce.” If it can be proven, via that picture’s time stamp, that you were unfaithful to your spouse during the duration of your marriage, you may receive fewer marital assets, or forfeit your rights to alimony. Additionally, if it is found that you used marital money to take that trip to Cancun, you may be forced to repay your spouse for frivolously spending marital funds.

Additionally, if you go out and buy a brand new car directly after posting pictures of a “Diamond Ring for Sale,” your car could very well be subject to the division of property, as you essentially used marital property to obtain the vehicle.

Be Careful of What You Post on the Internet

If you are in the midst of a divorce, or are about to embark on the divorce journey, our family law attorney suggests refraining from posting anything online until after the divorce is final. There is no telling what information may or may not come back to haunt you, so it is better to play it safe and abstain from social media for the time being.

If you are going through a Texas divorce, contact the Clark Law Group to see how our team can guide you through the process and achieve a favorable outcome. To speak with a legal representative today, call (469) 906-2266, or schedule a private consultation online.

(image courtesy of Tirza von Dijk)

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