Social Media sites have changed more than just the way we socialize. Sites like Facebook and Twitter have recently helped given leads on wanted individuals and have assisted in arrests. Not only have law enforcement turned to social media to help unveil the secret lives of persons of interest, but lawyers are now using the sites to help prove their cases. This is especially true in cases of bankruptcy, where many people sometimes try to conceal their assets on paper.
There are three major ways that a social media site can affect your bankruptcy:
Not listing all personal property Listing accurately and honestly all of your personal property is a requirement of filing for bankruptcy. From there, some of this property may be protected using exemptions. Any property not listed, intentionally or inadvertently, may be seized by the Bankruptcy Trustee.
While the courts have many ways of finding your concealed properties, social media is a very easy way to detect large items, especially if you like posting pictures or talking about your new items.
Hidden jobs or sources of income Your income has a big impact on your bankruptcy proceeding. The courts use a “Means Test” to determine if you qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. A Chapter 7 bankruptcy can eliminate your debt entirely, whereas a Chapter 13 requires you to make monthly payments to your bankruptcy trustee. Not only does your income affect your Means Test, but in the case of a Chapter 13 bankruptcy it also affects how much your monthly payment will be. Posting about a new job or a side business on a social media site can get you in trouble if you haven’t listed the information or contacted your attorney to add the income information to your case.
Vacations and Spending People love posting pictures of their fun and relaxing vacations, but when you’re filing for bankruptcy, you need to be careful with how you’re spending your money. Posting pictures or updates of your shopping spree or luxury vacation, especially if the expense is going on a credit card, which is considered unsecured debt, may get you in trouble with the courts. They may even require that you pay back these expenses.
As a Brownsville bankruptcy attorney, I always advise disclosing all your property information and spending habits when you first decide to file for bankruptcy. Concealing assets is not right and not worth the risk. The courts have plenty of ways to find your hidden assets and even when it comes to social media web sites, information can easily be subpoenaed.
About the Author: Jeff Davis is the Owner of the Davis law firm and a highly experienced Brownsville bankruptcy attorney. To find out more information about a Rio Grande Valley bankruptcy lawyer, please visit www.jeffdavislawfirm.com.