Social Media and Family Law in Arizona
Social media has become a daily presence in people’s lives. They connect with family and friends, share photos and memories and follow celebrities. However, during a divorce procedure, the way spouses use social media can have a strong negative impact on their family law case. Any Arizona law practitioner will start discussions with their client with this warning: “be careful what you post on the social media”.
Of course, this general warning is followed by more specific indications. They are not meant to limit your freedom of speech or venting out during a highly emotional time. On the contrary, the family law attorney’s warnings are meant to ensure that you comply with Arizona law and finalize the divorce under the best possible conditions for you.
Unfortunately, many people don’t heed these warnings. For this reason, we decided to prepare a list of social media mistakes that may damage your family law case. These are:
1. Not Changing Your Passwords
Some couples have access to each other’s social media accounts. It is a sign of trust between each other. Unfortunately, it is no longer wise to let your spouse access these accounts while you are negotiating division of property or spouse maintenance.
Once you are determined to initiate divorce proceedings, your family law attorney will advise you to change all your social media passwords and even account privacy settings. Under Arizona law, whatever is posted on your accounts is deemed to originate from you. If a spiteful spouse posts negative or even defamatory texts on your behalf, they may hurt your case.
2. Discussing Your Spouse and their Family on Social Media
Some people feel like venting on Facebook or Twitter and sharing stories that paint their spouse and their relative in a bad light. Under Arizona law, it may be deemed as libel. Even if it does not get there, your family law case will suffer.
The judge will be presented with evidence that you are a vengeful and spiteful person. This may lead to a decision that is definitely not in your favor – including visitation rights if you have children.
3. Sharing News of a New Romantic Interest
Although Arizona is a no-fault state in terms of family law (judges are prohibited from considering evidence of adultery according to Arizona law), the fact that you are already involved in a new relationship should not become public.
Your lifestyle will be one of the most important things to consider when determining custody and parenting time. Being romantically involved with someone else before your divorce is finalized will have a negative impact on your case, despite your family law attorney’s best efforts.
4. Discussing Any Details of Your Family Law Case
The only person you can freely discuss your case with is your family law attorney. While Arizona law does not prohibit you from publicly speaking about a divorce case, you are giving the other party free insider information.
This will definitely be brought up when you least expect it and impact your case negatively.
5. Believing that Private Groups Are Safe
Finally, there are no 100% safe places on social media. Even private or secret groups can be monitored and information retrieved from them. Do not discuss your case, ask for advice on how to avoid paying child support or hide assets from your ex. All these details may become evidence in your family law case.