My soon-to-be-ex-husband has been trying to avoid paying spousal support due to a “disability,” but his social media posts suggest he is able-bodied. Can I use this in court?
Over the past several years, social media has played an increasingly important role in divorce and child custody litigation. Unbelievably, litigants will make certain claims in court or during settlement negotiations that can be totally refuted by the latest tweet or Instagram post. If you are in the midst of a divorce, or have questions about the usability of your spouse’s social media presence, we encourage you to contact a reputable Phoenix family law firm to discuss your options, rights, and obligations when evidence online is blatantly contradicting in-court statements or assertions.
Spousal & child support
Spousal and child support determinations are made by calculating each party’s monthly gross income, as well as considering a number of other relevant factors. In some cases, the prospective payor will claim that he or she is unable to find full-time employment – or any employment at all – in a vain attempt to avoid paying spousal or child support. In these cases, it is not uncommon for the spouse to claim a disability, or inability to find work due to time restraints or other obstacles.
If, however, this person maintains a healthy and active lifestyle, evidence of which appears on social media, and appears to have unlimited free time to pursue personal activities and interests, this information could be quickly preserved by the payee’s family law attorney and used to controvert these claims. If the individual went as far as to lie to the court about the inability to work, the judge could hand down a contempt of court citation.
In Arizona, most divorces are achieved via “no fault” grounds, meaning litigants only need to attest that the marriage is irretrievably broken. In other words, the parties need not raise grounds for divorce such as adultery or abandonment.
However, Arizona maintains a concept known as “covenant marriage,” into which spouses may opt to enter on their wedding day. This type of marriage is more difficult to dissolve, and requires the party seeking divorce to prove traditional fault grounds. If the other party is openly and unabashedly maintaining another relationship during the marriage, or has relocated and abandoned the petitioning spouse, social media posts may become highly relevant in proving these assertions.
If you are considering a divorce, or would like to discuss your options, we encourage you to contact the experienced attorneys at Cohen Family Law by dialing (602)714-8898 today.