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Divorce in the Age of the Internet

Elgin Divorce Attorneys

AdobeStock 65219633The internet changed our lives, mostly for the better but in some ways, for the worse. No matter how you feel about the impact the internet had on our lives, you cannot deny the profundity of its impact. The internet is a wide, public space and how you behave online can impact how you are perceived by your friends, your employer, your family, and law enforcement. The actions and statements you take on social media and other websites can impact your divorce, sometimes unfairly. You may want to consider the following information as you progress through your divorce.

Everything you Do on the Internet is Public Information

Even if your social media profiles are set to private, you can never be sure that something you post will not be picked up by a follower and used against you in your divorce.

Avoid discussing your divorce, your former partner, the court, and any of the lawyers involved in your case on your social media accounts. When the court determines your parenting plan, it considers your history of cooperation with the court. Negative discussions about the court and its decisions can have a negative impact on your parenting time. Save these discussions for face-to-face conversations with close friends or journaling sessions.

It is also important that you do not post images that show you with a new partner before your divorce is finalized, especially if these images make it appear that you are living with the new partner. If you are seeking spousal maintenance, you may be denied the maintenance if the court thinks you are cohabitating. Similarly, your former partner may point to images of you with a new partner to claim that you have spent marital funds on the new partner, which could possibly have an impact on the division of your property.

Even Innocent Social Media Posts Can be Taken Out of Context

Having a drink every now and then does not mean you are an inattentive parent or that you have an alcohol addiction. But you may want to think twice about posting images or comments about drinking or engaging in other adult activities. These posts can be taken out of context to make you appear to be an unfit parent.

While your divorce is pending, refrain from posting anything that can potentially be taken out of context. Consider staying off social media altogether, but if this is not possible, keep your posts and comments to completely innocent, neutral subjects. If you are tagged in other users’ images of drinking or engaging in other potentially controversial behavior, you can remove the tags.

Know What is Public and What is Private

Not all communication made via the internet is public. Emails, text messages, and other messages directly to others are private and may not be used in court to support your claims. “Snooping” in a partner’s laptop or other device is an invasion of his or her privacy. If you need evidence to support your claim of domestic violence, infidelity, poor parenting, or substance abuse, you will need to obtain it legally. Your lawyer can help you obtain the evidence you need through the proper, legal channels.

The Internet is an Important Tool, but Use it Wisely

No previous generation had the ease of access to information that we have. Before your initial consultation with your divorce lawyer, you can do your own research about Illinois’ divorce laws and previous cases with similar factors to yours. Your research can help you start discussions with your lawyer and help you prepare for each stage of the divorce process, such as depositions and court hearings. When you read about other divorces, though, remember that every divorce is unique. You cannot expect your case to have the same result as another case simply because they share a few circumstances.

Work with an Experienced Illinois Family Law Firm

To learn more about the divorce process in Illinois and issues you need to consider surrounding your divorce, speak with one of the experienced Elgin divorce lawyers at Pucci | Pirtle, LLC. Contact our office today to schedule your initial consultation with a member of our team, during which we can answer your questions and guide you through the next steps in your divorce process.

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