Stephen J. Buhler, Attorney at Law

Social media accounts increasing in popularity and in court usage

In the course of just a few years, social media has quickly risen in popularity, to the point where it is often used multiple times per day by Salt Lake City residents. While many individuals may think of social media as simply being used for fun or to connect with family and friends, it can also have a dramatic impact when it comes to family law cases.

For instance, in child support disputes, one of the significant issues that may be hotly contested is one party's ability to make support payments. The party may claim his or her income is limited, to the point where he or she is not able to make a certain level of payments. Even after an initial support order is entered, this can be a significant issue when child support modification is sought by a party, which may either be the recipient who is seeking to increase payments or the payor who is seeking to decrease payments.

Social media is becoming more of a staple in these types of disputes, as information provided by a party on their Facebook, Twitter or other social media account can conflict with their claims in court. For example, a party who is claiming to be unable to make payments might post pictures of a new vehicle purchase, which can directly contradict his or her claims. Other individuals might claim to be on a limited income, while their social media accounts depict them on expensive vacations.

Aside from pictures, there might be new job information posted by the party, which can contradict claims of being unemployed. Accordingly, there is no shortage of information that can be gleaned from a person's social media account. Both sides in a dispute should be aware of the increased usage of social media information in court, as it can present the turning point in their dispute.

Source: ABC Action News, "Social media a potent tool for divorce lawyers tracking down deadbeat parents, others," Sarina Fazan, Oct. 22, 2015

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