The old advice for making the most of life — dance like there’s nobody watching, love like you’ll never be hurt, and sing like there’s nobody listening — has been updated. The fourth rule for living well is now: post on social media like it will one day be read aloud in court.
It is increasingly common for social media posts and other records of online activity to be used as evidence in Albuquerque area divorce cases. Matteucci Family Law has used social media posts to our client’s advantage in several cases where the couple could not come to an amicable agreement on the division of assets and debts, child custody and support, or spousal support/alimony.
Isn’t New Mexico a No-Fault Divorce State?
Many years ago, New Mexico residents who wanted to file for divorce had to prove to the court that their marriage had failed because their partner wronged them. The person seeking a divorce had to present evidence proving their partner had treated them cruelly, abandoned them, or committed adultery.
Today, New Mexico only allows residents to file no-fault divorces. You simply inform the court you and your former partner are incompatible and you want to divorce. Presenting evidence of misconduct or misbehavior won’t help you “win” a divorce.
So what role does social media evidence play in a no-fault divorce?
Instead of being evidence of why divorce is warranted, social media posts can help one party negotiate more favorable terms when it comes time to divide up assets and debts or craft an agreement governing child custody and support. For example:
- Marital Waste – New Mexico is a community property state, which means both members of a couple are assumed to be the equal owners of nearly everything owned or owed at the time of divorce. Social media posts can provide evidence that one partner was wasting the couple’s money on extramarital affairs, gambling, or spending lavishly on themselves. The partner who was not spending money in this way can argue they should not be responsible for debts related to it.
- Spousal Support – Social media can provide evidence one spouse is hiding assets or has a new romantic partner — both factors that can impact the level of spousal support aka alimony received or paid.
- Child Custody – Online posts can show a parent is engaged in risky behavior a child should not be exposed. Or it can be used to prove a parent is showing up, being supportive, and deserves equal parenting time.
Parties turn into social media archaeologists when a divorce gets contentious — sifting through new content and digging through back posts looking for evidence that bolsters their arguments. Since there are no court rules limiting this type of evidence, it is all fair game.
Serving New Mexico Families with Dignity & Compassion
At Matteucci Family Law, negotiating an amicable split is always the goal. But when one side is not cooperating or making false allegations, social media evidence can be a valuable tool. It is prudent that divorcing parties assume their former partner — or someone sympathetic to their former partner — is combing through their social media posts.
If you have questions or concerns about the role social media may play in your divorce, Matteucci Family Law is here for you. Please contact us today to schedule a consultation with our experienced family law team.