As reported by Men's Journal in October 2023, Fast and Furious star Tyrese Gibson made news after he fled to social media to post a "scathing" 12-minute-long video discussing the intimate details of the divorce from his ex-wife, Samantha Lee. Gibson's furious rage was considered by many to be out of line, mainly because Ms. Lee had previously stated in an interview that "no one wanted a broken family," and she had hoped the couple would work things out for the sake of their daughter and reconcile in the future. Nevertheless, Gibson doubled down, indicating that he had no intention of negotiating with Lee and accused her of speaking out about their divorce to chase fame.
The irony of using Instagram to slam Lee's public comments about their relationship was apparently lost on Gibson, who repeatedly expressed his frustration about airing the family's business. But this exchange serves as an essential reminder or query that anyone entrenched in family law litigation should ask themselves, "What effect will sharing my personal life on social media have on my case?"
If you are entrenched in a divorce, Protection From Abuse order, or child custody battle and need help, contact The LLF Law Firm Family Law Team today by calling us at 888-535-3686 or using our online contact form.
Evidence Laws and Social Media
In Pennsylvania, as in many other states, social media posts are admissible in court under certain circumstances. Generally, social media posts can be deemed admissible if the following criteria are met:
- Authentication: The posts or social media pages must first be authenticated by the parties or experts involved; otherwise, a court cannot determine if the posts are attributable to one of the parties.
- Relevancy: The nature of the posts must be relevant to the case and cannot be admitted merely to embarrass or harass one of the parties.
- Privacy Laws: The posts must be legally obtained in a manner that does not violate overriding privacy laws.
The Impact of Social Media Usage in Family Law Cases
While social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and X can be used as positive platforms that make staying in touch with friends and families more accessible than ever, these platforms can quickly turn into minefields in Pennsylvania family law matters that expose unhealthy lifestyles and behaviors with a few clicks of a button.
For example, evidence of lavish lifestyles such as vacations, cars, clothes, or fancy dinners can be used in alimony and child support litigation. While one party may argue they lack the funds to make additional payments, the other pay points to their social media posts as evidence of their funds and unwillingness to support a higher standard of living.
Frequent social media check-ins at places like bars, clubs, or casinos can also expose lifestyle choices that indicate an inability to provide children with a safe and nurturing environment. Conversely, positive posts like sharing pictures from family gatherings, child-friendly events, or even church can help support a claim for child custody and visitation rights.
Pennsylvania Family Law Attorneys
Social media can be a double-edged sword in family law litigation that can help or hurt your case. If you have questions about how social media may influence your family law matter, contact our compassionate and dedicated family law attorneys at The LLF Law Firm Family Law Team by calling us at 888-535-3686 or using our online contact form today.