What Happens Online, Doesn’t Stay Online: How Social Media May Affect Your Family Law Case

Stephanie Gomez, Summer 2022 UHLC Pipeline Program Intern

By: Stephanie Gomez

The saying goes, “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.” That’s far from the truth in family law especially when it comes to what people post on social media. We’ve all gone to social media at some point to get the lowdown on the drama between celebrities, politicians, and public personalities. Whether it’s to see if Khloe Kardashian is back with Tristan Thompson or to determine the latest controversy surrounding the British Royal Family. Whatever pop culture news you follow on social media, there’s usually some party to the development who will their feelings via social media to dominate the narrative in every situation.

Those who live in the spotlight are no strangers to exposing their dirty laundry to attract sympathy or attention and increase the public support. For example, the ongoing divorce between actor Ioan Gruffudd and estranged wife actress Alice Evans illustrates how family law cases can spread beyond the confines of the courtroom and into the hands of everyone with a social media account. Gruffudd and Evans who have been married almost 15 years also share two daughters born in 2009 and 2013.

Gruffud and Evans both have over 100,000 social media followers; however, it is Evans that has often shared posts regarding the divorce and custody process According to court documents filed by Gruffudd, his wife’s posts are “false and misleading statements” and damaging since they “relate[] to [his] and the [daughters] relationship.” Gruffud obtained a restraining order in response to his wife’s frequent online insults, providing the court with ample evidence of abusive social media posts, as well as private conversations and emails.

Feeling frustrated? Text it to your confidant. Don’t tweet it online.

While the court proceedings of these people may be under scrutiny due to their careers, ordinary people are not immune to the pitfalls of social media scrutiny either. A petty Instagram post or a Twitter outburst may be a temporary relief borne out of frustration or hopelessness, but the consequences of venting online have routinely come back to haunt litigants in court.

According to the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, the use of social networking evidence in disputes has increased by 81%. The best way to protect yourself from your social media being used as evidence against you is to refrain from commenting on your case, the other party, and even the children. Any and everything can (and will) be used against you. A key takeaway from this is that anything you share online just might become an exhibit in your family law case.

The Putman Firm, PLLC is a family law litigation firm that handles a wide array of family matters including criminal matters that intersect family law, i.e. family violence assault cases, protective orders (criminal and civil), and allegations of child abuse. We understand that social media can be addictive however if you or someone you know are seeking legal assistance for a family law case and need guidance on how best to proceed without getting into trouble for your social media activity,  contact The Putman Firm, PLLC at (281) 501-9033. You can also schedule a consultation by visiting Your Family Law Attorney.

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