Social Media & Divorce
Can you believe that social media is the cause behind one in seven divorces? When social media was new, people who were in the middle of a divorce didn’t think twice about posting pictures or comments, because at that time they didn’t realize their online actions could have major consequences. Social media can negatively impact the outcomes of your divorce and significantly affect a divorce proceeding and weaken a case. When social media initially became popular, people were worried about their boss finding their profile, but now content from social media helps prosecutors secure guilty verdicts and even change the outcome of a divorce or marriage settlement agreement. It’s risky business!
I get it, we are living in the golden age of social media. It’s how we stay in touch with our family and friends, share information, connect with others for professional purposes, and even watch funny videos purely for entertainment. When going through a divorce, and even after, it’s important to be really cautious about what you post online, because It’s the first place your future ex’s attorney will look.
Here are just a few examples of how divorce outcomes can be affected by irresponsible social media behavior:
- When you argue that you can’t afford spousal support, and then post pictures of lavish vacations or new cars can on social media. This can be used against you and can also be used to prove hidden assets.
- Posting pictures of yourself partying, drinking smoking or at nightclubs at 3am while you’re fighting for joint custody. If the state sees images of a parent engaged in risky behaviors around children, it could completely alter a judgement.
- Social media is the number 1 way used to prove adulterous behavior. Private social media messages can be made public all too easily and can be considered by the judge.
- Amicable divorce is usually the best for everyone. It reduces stress and legal fees, but can be ruined with just one social media post ranting against your spouse, that ends up being shown to your spouse.
Think twice before posting! Seemingly innocent posts can easily be misinterpreted or seen as provocative by an emotional spouse, and can lead to the escalation of tensions, the prolonging of the divorce process and thus, increased attorney’s fees.
Tips for Social Media During and After Divorce
- Create a separate email account for divorce purposes. Don’t communicate about your divorce over your work email, because your employer has access to all of that information, and they probably don’t want you using work time for personal business.
- Consider getting your own cell phone plan. This may come with penalties, but it will be worth your peace of mind. Having your own plan will prevent your spouse from hacking into your text messages and tracking your movements.
- Change all passwords if your ex has access to any of your accounts. Don’t forget to unlink text message accounts from your phones, computers, and IPads (Including children’s’ devices).
Your Social Media Posts and Activity
- Don’t discuss your divorce publicly online. This can invite unwanted comments that might cause problems if seen by your spouse or their friends.
- Don’t badmouth your spouse on social media. Resist the urge to vent on social media about your spouse even if they are behind on child support, alimony, or forgot to pack your child’s overnight bag for your weekend overnight. A case is never going to get settled because you embarrassed your ex-spouse or berate them about their infidelity. Don’t express this on social media, instead vent to a friend about this in person over wine and cheesecake!
- Don’t change your relationship status on Facebook from “married” to “single” until your divorce is final. Doing so will only make your spouse angry, and possibly want to retaliate.
- Don’t post pictures that show you spending a lot of money. This could affect the financial settlement agreement or be used to prove that there are hidden assets.
- If you aren’t comfortable with a judge or your spouse’s attorney seeing a post, then don’t post it. This is a good social media rule of thumb to follow.
- Avoid posting pics of you dating anyone new until your divorce is final and you are single.
- Take a social media break. If you’re concerned that you can’t control your posts during your divorce, take a break from social media.
- Remember we’re all “reality TV stars” in this day and age. Through social media, any content can go viral without the original intention for it to. Act as though a camera is following you everywhere.
- Avoid lying about your digital content to your attorney or court officials. An opposing attorney only has to prove you lied once to break an entire case.
Family and Friends and Their Social Media Posts
- Ask family and friends to not post negative comments about your spouse online.
- Don’t use friends as social media spy’s. Remember to consider the fact that your spouse’s friends may well be stalking your social media for your spouse.
- Don’t allow yourself to be tagged in inappropriate posts or photos. Even if you’re not the original poster, an inappropriate photo of you uploaded by someone else can hurt settlements and custody arrangements
Divorce is an extremely stressful, emotional and traumatic time, and as a result, we often act out in ways that are less than rationale.
- You can’t regret anything that you never said, posted, emailed or texted.
- No one can unhear or unsee anything that they have heard or read!
- If you have to ask yourself, “is this appropriate” don’t post it.
- If you’re concerned that you can’t control your posts on SM during the divorce, then take a break.