Social media can have huge effects during high-asset Illinois divorces

People who are divorcing in Rockford may expect their personal lives to be scrutinized during the proceedings. However, many of these spouses may not realize that social media activity may also be fair game. In many cases, evidence gleaned from social media may be considered admissible during divorce, according to Forbes. This information may be especially influential during high net worth separations.

Financial insights

Social media activity may not be as conclusive as financial statements and records, but it can still point to spousal misconduct. For instance, social media may suggest all of the following things:

  • A spouse is hiding marital property. This may affect the way that property is divided, since Illinois judges have discretion to divide all marital assets equitably.
  • A spouse had an extramarital affair. Although alimony and property division aren't based on fault in Illinois, judges may consider any dissipation of marital assets. Spouses who dissipate assets during an affair may receive fewer assets when property is divided.
  • A spouse is misstating his or her financial need. A spouse's liabilities, income, earning power and overall need may affect property division and alimony awards. The lifestyle that a spouse reveals on social media may suggest that the spouse is exaggerating his or her financial need.

In these situations, social media activity might not independently serve as conclusive evidence. However, it may lead one spouse to investigate hidden assets, overstatements or dissipated assets and then secure more convincing evidence.

If social media activity indicates hidden income, this may also affect child support obligations. In Illinois, child support is based on net income and the number of children that a spouse has. Support obligations can range from 10 to 50 percent of the supporting spouse's disposable income. As a result, the discovery of extra expendable income may be highly influential.

Other effects

For parents, careless social media activity before or during divorce can also affect other aspects of the settlement. Family law judges take various factors into account when awarding child custody. These include the possibility of violence and the ability of each parent to work with the other parent. Social media activity may shed light on many of these factors, according to The Huffington Post.

One parent's angry comment about the other parent, for instance, may suggest that alienation of affection or violence is a risk. Similarly, a post about questionable lifestyle choices may reflect poorly on a parent's ability to provide a safe, stable environment.

Unfortunately, even social media activity that is misinterpreted may have harmful effects. This makes it advisable for spouses to limit what they share. If spouses do not want information brought up during divorce, they should avoid disclosing it through social media.

Seeking advice

Avoiding social media missteps and other unnecessary pitfalls during divorce can be challenging for most spouses. To avoid harmful mistakes, spouses should consider consulting with an attorney early on. An attorney can offer advice on the various factors that may influence the final settlement.