Divorce & Family Law Column By:
Chadwick M. Layton, Esq.[i]
Harvey Waddell & Layton, P.A.
SOCIAL MEDIA & DIVORCE
It is no secret that social media content and postings can become valuable information in a contested divorce action.
Our firm has focused in particular on social media and the application it has in a contested alimony case. In some cases, the question is not simply should one spouse receive alimony?
If a clear case for alimony exists, the larger questions become:
- How much alimony should be paid on a monthly basis?
- How long should alimony be paid?
- What occurrences will automatically terminate the alimony payments?
- Is there an option for one lump sum alimony payment to be made?
Social media can be helpful to address these questions. One important element under the law regarding alimony is, what has been the standard of living during the marriage? Pictures and posts to social media while the marriage was intact are often times relevant evidence toward establishing the standard of living during the marriage.
In some cases, a payor spouse may argue that the parties enjoyed a modest standard of living during the marriage and alimony should be minimal. A reasonable search into social media accounts may then reveal a longstanding membership to the Seagate Beach Club in Delray Beach and vacations to Europe and the Rocky Mountains on an annual basis during the marriage. This social media evidence would be instrumental in creating leverage toward a reasonable settlement agreement.
In other cases, a party seeking alimony may reveal holes in their cases via social media accounts. In one case a wife was demanding alimony from husband. Husband clearly had exposure to an alimony claim based upon the length of marriage and earning capacity of husband being more than three times that of wife during the marriage.
However, the wife quickly moved on to a new boyfriend and entered into a financially supportive relationship with the new boyfriend before the divorce action was filed. Postings on social media indicated cohabitation with a new boyfriend and financial support from the boyfriend. This information is invaluable to support additional discovery methods of subpoenas and depositions to uncover bank and credit card statements showing that alimony is not warranted based upon a financially supportive relationship with a new partner.
These are only a couple of examples of how social media may be relevant to an alimony claim in divorce. Social media and its relevance to divorce is something divorce attorneys must be prepared to handle and apply in divorce cases.
[i] Chadwick M. Layton is a partner and shareholder at Harvey Waddell & Layton, P.A., located in downtown Lake Worth, he is also a member of the Florida Bar Family Law Section and the Susan Greenberg Family Law American Inn of Court of the Palm Beaches, further information is available at www.LaytonLawOffices.com or (561) 585-4631.