From the time I was a personal injury attorney till the present day, there is one message that I strive hard to hammer into my clients. BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU POST ON SOCIAL MEDIA. In all honesty I can end the article there and be satisfied that you got the message, but I’m going to continue to make sure the point drives home.

There is a surefire way to mess up your case, and that is posting something contrary to your claim or defense on social media. Fortunately, my clients seem to listen to my warning (at least for the most part). But there have been multiple times I have been able to get ammunition against the opposing party simply because they are not watching what they post. Recently, I tried a case against an abusive husband. He stated on the stand that he never broke or damaged his wife’s property. After a few set up questions on cross examination I hit him with his Facebook post which not only stated that he broke his wife’s cell phone, but why he did it. In another case, opposing party made claims of having no money or assets to pay his child support. Yet his Facebook and Instagram photos showed his extensive gun collection and wads of cash. Needless to say, when it came time for mediation he folded before lunch.

I tell my clients that if they insist on using social media during their case, it is imperative that they use all privacy settings. Set your Facebook and Instagram profiles to private, turn on protected tweets on Twitter, and limit your Snapchat to only people you approve. Even after these measures have been taken review your friends list. Are some of your friends also friends with the opposing party in your case? Do you think they would turn over screenshots of your post to the opposing party? If the answer to either of those questions is yes unfriend and/or block them.

You also need to be very wary about what pictures you are posting, sharing, and retweeting. Anything that has to do with drug use, alcohol, gambling, or any other potentially negative vice needs to be nowhere near your social media pages. Especially if there are children involved.

Which brings me to my final point, don’t post anything negative about your children, even if done in a joking matter. Because if it is presented as evidence, the Court is going to have to take that isolated post an examine it in a vacuum regardless of context. We all know a joke can be received differently when written instead of spoken because of the lack of tone and voice inflection. So, a joke about your seven-year-old son being “a pest” or how you’re going to “cut” the opposing party needs to be kept to yourself when you’re online. Because when your words are being read to you plainly on the stand in front of a judge and jury, they likely won’t seem like a joke at all.