Far too many times I have seen clients’ postings, comments, and pictures on Facebook and other forms of social media be used against them in a divorce proceeding. Even if you block your soon to be ex-spouse from your personal page, there are always ways around getting access to your account. Many times family members and mutual friends will allow a “blocked” spouse access to their spouse’s social media pages in order to gather evidence in divorce proceedings. 

As reported by the Huffington Post, one Father in Cincinnati, Ohio was almost put in jail for his Facebook posts relating to his wife and ongoing divorce. Even though his Wife was “blocked” from his page, she gained access through a mutual friend. The Husband had written on Facebook “If you’re an evil vindictive woman and want to ruin your husband’s life and take your son’s father away from him, all you have to do is say that you’re scared.” The divorce judge held the Husband in contempt of court for his Facebook post stating that he had violated an injunction to not harass his wife. The judge in this case gave the husband two choices; either apologize to his Wife everyday on Facebook for 30 consecutive days or spend 60 days in jail.

The advice I give my clients is to assume that a judge is reading and viewing each comment, picture, and post you make on any form of social media. Before you make a post, ask yourself “Would this reflect poorly on me should the judge read it?” If the answer is yes, do not share that thought, comment or picture with the social media world. If you are incapable of making that judgment call, I suggest you shut down all forms of social media accounts until your divorce is finalized.

 

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Photo of Michelle O'Neil Michelle O'Neil

Michelle May O’Neil has 27 years’ experience representing small business owners, professionals, and individuals in litigation related to family law matters such as divorce, child custody, and complex property division. Described by one lawyer as “a lethal combination of sweet-and-salty”, Ms. O’Neil exudes…

Michelle May O’Neil has 27 years’ experience representing small business owners, professionals, and individuals in litigation related to family law matters such as divorce, child custody, and complex property division. Described by one lawyer as “a lethal combination of sweet-and-salty”, Ms. O’Neil exudes genuine compassion for her client’s difficulties, yet she can be relentless when in pursuit of a client’s goals. One judge said of Ms. O’Neil, “She cannot be out-gunned, out-briefed, or out-lawyered!”

Family Law Specialist

Ms. O’Neil became a board-certified family law specialist by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization in 1997 and has maintained her certification since that time. While representing clients in litigation before the trial court is an important part of her practice, Ms. O’Neil also handles appellate matters in the trial court, courts of appeals and Texas Supreme Court. Lawyers frequently consult with Ms. O’Neil on their litigation cases about specialized legal issues requiring particularized attention both at the trial court and appellate levels. This gives her a unique perspective and depth of perception that benefits both her litigation and appellate clients.

Top Lawyers in Texas and America

Ms. O’Neil has been named to the list of Texas SuperLawyers for many years, 2011-2018, a peer-voted honor given to only about 5% of the lawyers in the state of Texas. In 2014-2018, Ms. O’Neil received the special honor of being named by Texas SuperLawyers as one of the Top 50 Women Lawyers in Texas, Top 100 Lawyers in Texas, and Top 100 Lawyers in DFW. She was named one of the Best Lawyers in America for 2016 and received an “A-V” peer review rating by Martindale-Hubbell Legal Directories for the highest quality legal ability and ethical standards.

Author and Speaker

A noted author, Ms. O’Neil released her second book Basics of Texas Divorce Law in November 2010, with a second edition released in 2013, and a third edition expected in 2015.  Her first book, All About Texas Law and Kids, was published in September 2009 by Texas Lawyer Press. In 2012, Ms. O’Neil co-authored the booklets What You Need To Know About Common Law Marriage In Texas and Social Study Evaluations.  The State Bar of Texas and other providers of continuing education for attorneys frequently enlist Ms. O’Neil to provide instruction to attorneys on topics of her expertise in the family law arena.