Social media can affect Utah property division cases

The increasing and varying forms of social media have changed the way Utah residents meet and interact with the world around them. Social media sites like Facebook and Twitter are sites in which anyone can share just about anything they want with whomever they want. A downside exists, however. When couples get divorced, information garnered from these sites could affect property division during court hearings or settlement negotiations.

Anyone in a person's circle of friends can see what an individual posts or tweets -- good or bad. Posts and pictures are often used against both parties as evidence or as a negotiating tool. Divorce is up approximately 20 percent in the last decade, either in whole or partly due to some form of social media. An astonishing 81 percent of the "dirt" that has been found on one spouse by the other is from what was discovered on a social media site.

For example, a mother trying an online dating service stated that she was single with no children. In reality, she is the mother of two children and was going through a divorce at the time. During a custody battle with her ex-husband, this information was found and used against her in court. Another example is a man who was supposed to be sober and no longer drinking, yet he posted a picture of himself in which he appeared to be drunk.

People tend to forget that what they say and do online is not necessarily private. Individuals involved in a Utah divorce need to be mindful of what is said and posted online. Information gathered through social media sites can have a devastating effect on a divorce when it comes to child custody battles and property division. Utah couples that are considering making a new life for themselves after a divorce might want to consider what they post. In some cases, it might be wise to delete social media accounts for the duration of the proceedings to avoid any information on those sites from being misconstrued.

Source: paramuspost.com, Effect of Social Media on a Divorce, Angela Sanders, Jan. 29, 2014

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