A new study finds a correlation between Twitter usage and relationship problems, including divorce. The more frequent the Twitter usage, the higher the likelihood of discord in the couple. The study found the same results for couples who had been together for years, as well as newly formed relationships. The results of this and other studies tends to show that people use social media as an outlet for real-world frustrations.
Facebook (including private messages), Twitter, and text messages are frequently used in court proceedings regarding custody, child support, and alimony. Although Arizona is a no-fault state, issues such as criminal conduct and substance abuse can still have major impacts in a divorce. Parties’ motivations in the divorce can also be important for seeking reimbursement of attorney fees. For example, in child support or alimony disputes, claiming financial hardship will be more difficult when the opposing party shows pictures of your recent vacation that you wrote about on Facebook. Tweeting about your wild weekend might not be a good idea, especially if it happened to coincide with your parenting time.
Those considering divorce should be very careful about what they post or write. Even when private messages are not publicly viewable, they are often intercepted, shared by someone else, subpoenaed by the opposing party, or discovered by tracking software. Although Arizona law prohibits the unauthorized interception of electronic communication, it frequently happens. An incriminating statement (or photograph) made in a careless moment can be documented forever. There may be no way to erase content once you hit the send button.
The social media accounts of children can also be useful. The courts are generally reticent, with good reason, to interview or involve children in the divorce proceeding. But often the children may be acting out or expressing themselves online, which provides the court extra information without involving children directly.
Because most divorce proceedings are open to the public, this leaves people vulnerable to embarrassment or worse when their private details are laid bare. As a general rule, if you do not want it broadcast, do not write it or post it. You could sink your entire case in 140 characters or less.