Over the past decade, social media has grown to permeate all aspects of daily life. Increasingly, that includes the realm of divorce. Posts, tweets, and other activities on a range of social media platforms are impacting divorce cases in Los Angeles and throughout the country.
As attorneys specializing in Los Angeles divorce cases, we see the heightened influence of social media every day at Berenji & Associates. To help you protect yourself in your divorce, we have taken some time to assemble a few of the ways social media is reshaping how divorce works.
There are Fewer Ways to Avoid a Divorce Summons
In New York, divorce papers can now be served via Facebook when there is no suitable alternative. That was the ruling in Baidoo v. Blood-Dzraku (N.Y. Mar. 27, 2015), which held that social media platforms like Facebook are an acceptable means of publishing a summons if there are no other practicable ways of contacting the appropriate party. While there have been no similar rulings in California, courts here sometimes approve the publication of summons in newspapers or other outlets should the whereabouts of the party be unknown. The main idea here, of course, is that in the age of social media, there are fewer and fewer places to hide from the reach of the legal system.
Social Media Posts Aare Increasingly Used as Evidence
In divorce cases throughout the country, courts are increasingly issuing subpoenas for message and chat history on social media accounts. These messages can be used to prove the hiding of financial assets, extramarital affairs, or other factors which could adversely impact a divorce proceeding. A general rule of thumb: If you wouldn’t want a judge to read it, don’t post it anywhere online.
Activity Online Can Point to Hidden Assets
Oftentimes, a spouse attempting to hide an asset can be found out via social media. This is the case even for posts that are presumably private and hidden from the partner. Many spouses continue to share mutual friends after a divorce, and it is through these friends that posts can often circulate. If a spouse posted a picture from a new sports car that was not reported as an asset, for example, that post may be presented as evidence in court.
Social Media Can Cause Divorces
Research has shown that social media activity can measurably increase marital dissatisfaction, leading to higher divorce rates. One study, published by the the journal Computers and Human Behavior, found that a 20 percent increase in Facebook enrollment led to a 2.18 percent to 4.32 percent increase in the divorce rate. Reasons for this phenomenon are unknown, though researchers have speculated that people may be using social media as an outlet to seek advice and comfort for relationship issues.
When it comes to divorce, maintaining discretion in your online activity is especially important. At Berenji & Associates, we can help you protect yourself through smart online strategies in a divorce. To speak to an experienced Los Angeles divorce lawyer today, call us at (310) 271-6290 or contact us online.
Berenji & Associates