Can what I post on Facebook affect my court case?

Many people have a Facebook page.  They post fun recipes, kooky pet videos and selfies from trips, sporting and family events.  I love posts that are positive, cool and sometimes a bit boring.  Facebook helps us stay connected with the important people in our lives.

I am amazed with some of the information people choose to post on Facebook.  Some people post messages, comments and pictures that are harassing, mean, rude, false and absolutely unnecessary.  More and more these negative posts are being used in divorce and custody cases.  I always caution my clients to be careful what they post because what they post may be seen by a judge.  The posts can be used against them in court.  Judges often are asked to review text messages, emails, Facebook posts and Facebook messages and they often do not like what they see.  I have seen clients and opposing parties post hateful messages pertaining to very personal information about their ex’s that they would not post other than the fact they are angry and hurt.

You may think your Facebook posts cannot be seen if you set your page to private.  That assumption is often made, but it is wrong.  Facebook friends or friends of ex’s may be mining your Facebook page for information.  One of my clients provided me with hundreds of pictures of his former girlfriend’s Facebook page showing her neglecting their young child because she was partying and drinking during her parenting time.  He quickly got the pictures from a Facebook friend of his ex-girlfriend.  The ex-girlfriend eventually found out he accessed the information, but it was too late because I had all the information.

Nothing on the internet – Facebook, Twitter or email – is private.  My rule of thumb before I post on Facebook is “Would I want my grandma to see this information?”  If the answer is “No”, it stays off the internet.

Jessica Sterle

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