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Social Media: Foe - or Friend - In South Florida Family Law, Divorce Discovery and Negotiations?

Much has been written by this South Florida divorce lawyer and family law attorney about the use in divorce discovery and negotiations of texting, Facebook, Twitter and other communications or social media services.

Here's how the scenarios typically play out: A married man texts a lover with whom he's having an affair, or a married woman posts to Facebook about a meeting with someone whom her husband may suspect she's having an affair.

It even can start more innocently - but eventually become more incriminating. A Facebook user searches for friends from his youth. He stumbles upon an old flame, friends her, which may then lead to a meeting, a date or an affair.

Divorce proceedings begin. The other side's attorney subpoenas the text files from the phone company or prints the questionable Facebook, Twitter or other social media entries.

Such damning evidence has grown to carry significant weight with judges or magistrates hearing divorce cases. This evidence can affect alimony, though they generally would have no bearing on child support calculations.

Carelessness in using texts and social media leave a digital paper trail that cannot easily be erased or eliminated. While users easily can delete texts from their wireless phones, the phone company generally retains texts for at least 30 days after a text was sent or received.

Social media applications are open for all - or at least many - to see. A married Facebook user who posts an incriminating status update or photograph should have no expectation of privacy or that the post will not be seen by the his or her spouse or friends who may "share" the post or report back to the aggrieved spouse.

The use of social media is prevalent in society. Given how such use has seamlessly worked its way into our lives, a simple post can end up exposed for all the world, a spouse, their divorce attorney and the courts to see.

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