Tag: Social Media

Social Media and Bankruptcy

Social Media and Bankruptcy

Beware of Social Media

As lawyers, we have a love/hate relationship with social media.  Sure, many of us use social media in our own lives as well as to advertise and inform our current and potential clients.  Social Media and Bankruptcy can occasionally cause problems for our clients. 

We post pictures of vacations, shopping trips, the things we’re proud of and even how we look.  For most of us, this is benign.  We don’t have anything to hide, or so we think.  

We routinely tell people who are planning on going through a divorce to avoid social media.  It helps keep nerves from getting frayed and also helps us not say or do anything that could be misconstrued by our soon to be exes.

Just as you do in a divorce, you should also limit your activity on social media when you file bankruptcy. You may be thinking, “why does it matter what I post” and the truth is, it probably doesn’t…but creditors are getting desperate, and desperate people do desperate things.  

I will use an example here of a very high profile individual who filed for bankruptcy in the not so distant past, Curtis James Jackson III. You might know him better as 50 Cent. 

A Big Blunder

In 2015, Mr. Jackson filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Chapter 11 is a type of bankruptcy used for the wealthy and for corporations. Everything seemed to be going well until right in the middle of it all, he posted several photos on a popular social media site. One photo was of a stack of money in his freezer, another had stacks of bills arranged to spell the word “Broke,” and a third one was of him surrounded by a significant amount of cash on a bed. Mr. Jackson said the bills were props but he had stepped in it nonetheless.  

Mr. Jackson claimed that the photos were there for him to maintain a certain image that he needed in order to continue to earn money in his chosen field.  The problem was, it looked to creditors, especially those who weren’t going to get much, that he was trying to hide assets or “live large.” Because of these photos, the judge handling his case called Mr. Jackson to court to testify and to re-evaluate his assets.

In the end, Mr. Jackson was able to repay his debts under Chapter 11 and emerge debt free and fully reorganized.  However, he could have faced a much worse fate if he’d been found to be hiding assets and his little stunt likely caused a great deal more expense than was otherwise necessary in additional attorney fees. 

Avoid Problems All Together

Your creditors likely don’t know you personally. They don’t know that picture you posted at the beach was for a work trip and that time you checked in at the airport on social media was so you could fly to see a sick relative. They don’t realize that the picture of you in the shiny new car was actually a rental you had while your old car was being repaired.  

In other words, just remember, be careful what you put out there.  You never know who is watching and how they’ll take what you’re doing.  To you it was benign and potentially even necessary but to them, it could look like you were trying to hide something…or worse. 

If you have questions about a bankruptcy, don’t hesitate to call us.  We’ve been doing this a while and we’ve seen it all.  Including creditors using social media to hound clients. 

Social Media and Divorce

Social media has changed the world in just a few short years.  The first real Social Media sites debuted in 2002 and 2003 with the biggest one of them all, Facebook, debuting in 2004.  Social Media has had a significant role in changing the world we live in and making our lives more connected. Sometimes these social media sites have made our lives better and sometimes they’ve made them much worse.  It allows us to connect to old friends and keep in touch with long distance relatives. Social Media has also had many negative effects. It has led to countless extra-marital affairs, numerous divorces both uncontested and contested.  33% of all divorce filings in 2011 mentioned the word Facebook and certainly the number of divorces has grown by leaps and bounds since then with the advent of even more social media sites and messaging apps.  Without knowing the state of your relationship, we can’t say for sure that social media can be the downfall of your marriage but it most decidedly has the ability to cause substantial problems.  Even an amicable, uncontested divorce can go off the rails when one party of another sees pictures of the other spouse dating someone new, spending money, partying or acting carefree. Divorce, as we all know, is extremely trying on one’s emotions, even for people who feel that’s their only option. Even if someone’s ready to move in with their life, it doesn’t mean that they don’t still have feelings for their soon to be ex.

At one point or another, most couples had some good times and when they see their spouse with their arms wrapped around a date or a new partner, it breaks their heart, quickly turning feelings of sadness into jealousy, anger and spite.

What’s going on in your situation?

Many people ask, “Should I stay off Social Media during my divorce?

The answer depends on your individual situation:

  1. Do you use social media every day for a job or other business purpose?
  2. Is your spouse on social media?
  3. Are your mutual friends and family members on social media

If a post on Social Media that could upset your soon to be ex is likely to be seen by them or shown to them by someone else during the divorce proceeding, it would be in your best interest to stay off social media until your divorce is complete.  If you must use social media, it’s in your best interest to not comment, post or like anything that could upset the other party.

In our experience, it’s best to be cautious and this often means to abstain from Social Media during your divorce. If this sounds too difficult, then don’t post anything that you wouldn’t want your spouse or their attorney to see.

During your divorce, we recommend avoiding the following posts at all costs:

  • Pictures of you partying.
  • Pictures of you drinking alcohol or using drugs.
  • Pictures of an unusual purchase like a new car or a lavish vacation.
  • Pictures of you with what could be construed as “dates” or romantic partners.

And last but certainly not least:

Rants about your spouse or divorce.

Social media can be a lot of fun and a great way to distract yourself from your divorce, but don’t forget to post responsibly. You don’t want to say or do anything that can anger or upset your spouse to the point where a cheap, uncontested divorce turns into a full-blown divorce battle. We say this because it happens all the time to spouses amid divorce, and it’s entirely preventable.

If you find yourself needing the counsel of a competent and compassionate attorney to handle your uncontested divorce, please give us a call today to schedule your free, no obligation consultation.  The attorneys at Harmon and Gorove have decades of experience in handling uncontested divorces in ways that KEEP them uncontested.