Your marriage is on the rocks. Without much hope of reconciliation, you decide to hit the town with friends in an effort to keep your mind from wandering down the inevitable road your headed #DIVORCE. Hey, it happens to the best of us. The national average is still at 50%. A couple of cocktails in and you and your friends think is seems like a fantastic idea to start documenting every move you make on Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook. #nightout #drinks #shots Wait a sec – should you worry about how this might affect your impending divorce? What about those posts from last week, last year?
Though Illinois is a no fault state, social media can sometimes play a role, especially in child custody cases. While maintaining a presence on social media platforms before, during or even after your divorce isn’t a problem, there are several things to consider. Do posts present your image in a positive way? Are the pictures you’re tagged in the kind you’re comfortable with your mom, boss or the judge that grants your divorce looking at? Do attack your spouse, kids or other family members in posts? If so, this is how the hashtag could come back to haunt you.
Until recently, Illinois courts needed a cause or a #fault of one of the spouses to grant a divorce. Under the new code, you can now file under irreconcilable differences. Neither spouse needs to “air the dirty laundry” to prove anything. Cheating, abandonment, alcoholism or mental/verbal abuse are all still good reasons to throw in the towel on your marriage, but the law has changed and you no longer need to prove these issues happened. (So those pictures with your arm around someone other than your spouse won’t necessarily be a problem when filing.) It can however be an issue if the majority of your posts relate to partying, being away from home or indulging in less than stellar behaviors when it comes to your kids. It’s not uncommon for a divorce to now be filed under irreconcilable differences but for one spouse to present copies of social media posts to obtain sole child custody or to impede child visitations. Illinois courts can and will take social media posts presented as evidence into account. Remember, as innocent as your late night check in may have been, it could now be subject to the interpretation by the judge.