As you travel through the internet, you see repeatedly posted warnings from attorneys (from various and sundry fields of law) that individuals anticipating litigation should not post anything on the internet. This also is doubly true for individuals anticipating a divorce. So one of the first things attorneys do when they get a case is to determine whether or not the opposing spouse participated in any type of internet posting.
Oftentimes, they find this to be a futile source of information that will educate them about the opposing spouse and may also provide evidence that can be used against the opposing spouse during negotiations or during trial. Even in no fault states as Florida, such negative information can be useful. Such information can be utilized to bolster your spouse’s case concerning parenting issues including decision-making and timesharing (custody/visitation), division of assets and liabilities, alimony, and sometimes even attorney’s fees. At the very least, negative information about you on the internet or which you’ve posted about your spouse on the internet can cause the judge to view you in a negative light, which may have an ongoing negative impact on how the court decides the close issues in your case. Therefore, the Internet and divorce are a dangerous mixture.
Below are eight groundrules to follow if you’re anticipating a Florida divorce sometime in the near or not too distant future:
- Do not post on social media sites anything about you or your spouse. Those sites include Facebook, Google+, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. Also do not post any videos about yourself or your former spouse on YouTube;
- Do not apply to any dating sites such as Match.com, Eharmony.com, etc. if you are married, do not do so even if you are contemplating a divorce. You may erase the history from your computer, but attorneys know computer savvy experts who can resurrect this data and use it against you; if you’re not supposed to be applying/making applications or participating in dating websites, that prohibition goes doubly true for affair-generating websites. Websites exist on the internet specifically for individuals interested in cheating on their spouses. Those websites include adultfriendfinder.com and Ashleymadison.com;
- Gambling online. This behavior leaves a trail of evidence that can easily be subpoenaed. It’s actually easier to get those records than you can obtain records for gambling at a real-life casino. Consequently, do not gamble online and do not gamble elsewhere;
- Avoid creating a virtual life with an avatar. Websites such as secondlife.com and other MMORPG (Massively Multiplayer On Line Role Playing Games) create online virtual worlds in which you and other individuals can participate with an avatar. A judge is likely to believe the role you are playing in your virtual world mimics or mirrors, in some fashion, your actions in your marriage in the real world and specifically your marriage.
- Pornography sites. Do not use pornography sites. Even if a history of your visiting these sites may not be admissible in court, it will only cause your spouse to feel more animosity towards you and make it more difficult for you to settle your case;
- Significant Other. If you are not posting on the internet, you should not have your new girlfriend/boyfriend posting anything on the internet. If they have been an active internet participant, they should stop immediately. Most certainly, these individuals should never post anything about your divorce, about your life, or about your spouse on the internet. Believe me, agents on behalf of your spouse will be checking the internet to determine if your new significant other is posting anything that can be used against you in your divorce case;
- Family/Friends. In a similar fashion, do not permit family members or your friends to post negative comments about your divorcing spouse, or any type of comments whatsoever about your pending divorce case. It may be difficult to control your friends. However, if they are your friends, they will respond to your request not to post negative comments about you and your spouse and not mention you or your divorce or your spouse in their specific posts on the internet;
- Your own website. Today, it’s not unusual to see individuals developing their own individual website, either for business or individual use. Do not do so if you’re anticipating a divorce case in the near or not too distant future. If you have developed such a website, make sure that you do not mention yourself personally in it and that you do not mention your divorcing spouse or your divorce in it. Instead, if you must have a website on the internet in operation, devote it to neutral based content.
We live in an internet-dominated society. Consequently, it is impossible to believe that individuals have not used the internet in some capacity. However, if you follow the above advice, you may be able to minimize your spouse’s attempt to utilize your presence on the internet in a negative fashion against you in your divorce or family law case.
Contact our Divorce Lawyers in West Palm Beach for More Information
Board Certified Marital and Family Law Attorney Charles D. Jamieson understands that divorce is an extremely sensitive and important issue. Thanks to extensive experience and a focus on open communication, Attorney Jamieson adeptly addresses the complex issues surrounding divorce while delivering excellent personal service. To discuss divorce in Florida, please contact The Law Firm of Charles D. Jamieson, P.A.The Law Firm of Charles D. Jamieson, P.A. or call 561-478-0312.