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Private messages are not off limits in divorce

By now, many in Michigan may understand that their social media activity can have unintended consequences during a divorce proceeding. Negative posts, compromising pictures and incriminating activity may have a detrimental effect on a spouse’s efforts to win child custody, spousal support or a larger share of property division. However, what some may not understand is that private messages may also become evidence in a divorce case.

Despite that they are called “private” messages, the law does not protect the privacy of electronic communications. While it is standard procedure for the social media posts, histories and even deleted information to become part of a divorce trial, many are shocked to learn that their spouse’s attorneys may also subpoena text messages, emails, direct messages and other private communications. This information can include time stamps as well as the sender’s location at the time of the message.

For this reason, spouses heading for divorce would be wise to use electronic communications as cautiously as possible throughout the process. Seemingly innocent messages, such as describing a night of heavy drinking, complaining about the children or discussing a recent shopping splurge may resurface during a divorce trial and sabotage one’s goals. In fact, some divorce advisors recommend avoiding electronic communications and social media as much as possible until the legal matters are settled.

Fortunately, those approaching the challenges of divorce do not have to go through it alone. A skilled Michigan attorney will have the experience to offer wise advice for how to handle one’s social media and other issues. Having a legal advocate may improve one’s chances of a more positive outcome.