Social Media and Divorce: Don’t Fall Into the Trap
Social media is extremely tricky, while simultaneously pervasive in our society. It seems like everyone uses some type of social media, yet it can have a negative impact on our lives in any number of ways, from our careers to our family lives.
One time it’s extremely important to be conscious of what you’re putting into the world via social media is when you’re just beginning, or in the midst of a divorce.
There may be some obvious ways you begin monitoring your social media accounts a bit differently, but so many people still don’t truly understand the impact social media can have on their divorce proceedings.
Sneaky Ways Social Media Finds Its Way into a Divorce
A few examples include:
- These sites can be used to uncover hidden assets. For example, posting pictures of a recent luxury vacation or an expensive purchase can make its way to your spouse and his or her attorneys, painting a very different picture than what you may be trying to portray in court. It may not even be Facebook or Twitter that’s causing a problem. Did you get a recent promotion and post your new job title on LinkedIn? Your spouse may see this and use it to indicate you’re finances have improved beyond what you’re indicating.
- Enjoying a girl’s night out with your friends post-split? This can be used against you, even if it’s a seemingly innocent excursion. Not only can this have an impact on the actual divorce proceedings, but also your custody case.
- Don’t forget about past posts. Even if you have pictures from your wild college days still lingering on your Facebook profile, there may be a situation in which these can be used against you.
- You may be interacting with your high school boyfriend or girlfriend a lot since the divorce. Even if it’s completely innocent, it may not look this way to the public, and this can play a role in what’s happening in court. Additionally, during a divorce, emotions are running high, and you may be using social media to purposely make your spouse jealous—don’t act on emotion. Instead, think logically, because it’s possible your spouse could use this supposed relationship against you, whether it’s in terms of custody, or to point to this relationship as the reason for the demise of your marriage.
Rules for Being Smart with Social Media
A lot of people think it’s enough to simply delete their ex, or change the privacy settings on their social media profiles, but in reality it isn’t.
A few rules of using social media during a divorce include:
- Don’t say or post anything you’re not completely comfortable sharing with a judge, your lawyer, and your spouse’s lawyer. Think carefully before you post, and during this time, always put yourself in the mentality that each and every thing you put online is going to be brought up during your divorce.
- Always consider what you’re posting as being permanent. Even if you delete it, it takes only a second for someone to take a screen shot, print it out or capture it in some other way. Rather than having to try and cover your tracks after the fact, be smart before posting and remember nothing truly disappears in today’s cyberspace-dominated world.
- Be particularly cautious with photos you post. You may simply post a picture of yourself out to dinner with friends, but if your friends are having a drink, or someone in the background looks to be partying, it can be misconstrued. Photos are typically the most damming evidence if you’re in the middle of a divorce, and also the easiest thing to misinterpret.
- Don’t just delete your ex and his or her close friends and family members—think about your common connections that may still be able to see your posts.
- Never rely on privacy settings alone. Privacy settings are useful, but they can’t fully protect you, and if you’re lulled into a false sense of security because of your privacy settings on your accounts, you could be in for a big shock.
If you think you will have a hard time being smart with your social media, you may simply have to disconnect for a while, during your divorce.
With that being said, social media doesn’t have to work against you. If you’re smart, and work with your divorce attorney, it can actually work in your favor. You may be able to do a little digging on what your spouse is up to, and keep yourself from falling into a trap in the process. Your divorce lawyer should be able to guide you through this process, help you understand the role social media plays in today’s divorce, and provide you with a framework for a smooth, successful divorce, and if necessary, custody proceedings.