Most adults use some form of social media on a daily basis. They post, tweet, and hashtag thoughts and feelings to all of their friends and followers.
However, it is important to remember that oversharing on social media during a divorce is not a good idea. While it may feel good to vent, and wanting to do so is normal, opposing counsel may print out social media posts for submission as #TrialExhibitNumber1.
How Can Social Media Affect a Divorce?
The truth is that a good family law attorney is going to Google clients’ names at the start of any divorce proceeding. The result will likely show all of the party’s social media accounts including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok.
Family law attorneys relish discovering inappropriate pictures, videos, or threatening comments made about a soon-to-be ex-spouse.
They are all too happy to find posts from a spouse who can’t hold back their excitement about quitting their job and enjoying their newfound unemployment now that they are in the divorce process.
Spouses post pictures of themselves on wonderful vacations while at the same time, they claim they are so cash strapped that they cannot pay spousal support or child support.
Emotions run high during a divorce and often social media posts are placed into the hands of attorneys, custody evaluators, vocational evaluators, and judges.
Parties must remember that in a divorce, they are under a microscope. In light of this, we offer the following dos and don’ts to clients who are in the divorce process:
Handling Social Media During a Divorce
- Privatize social media accounts.
- Change passwords for all social media accounts.
- Consider completely discontinuing posting on social media during the divorce process.
- Proceed with caution when posting. Don’t post anything that could affect the future outcome of the case.
- Block or remove any “friends” who may not have the best interests in mind. A “friend” is not always a real friend.
- Remember that while a child may not have access to social media posts, their friends or friends’ parents may. People talk. Word travels fast. Consider how posts may affect children involved in the divorce.
- Do be mindful that even though posting may stop, it’s possible to be tagged in friends for family posts. These can be just as damaging in a divorce. Review all tagged posts carefully, and untag yourself if necessary.
- Don’t post anything that a judge or custody evaluator may find reproachful.
- Don’t post any inflammatory comments or feelings regarding the divorce process. Vent to a therapist or best friend instead.
- Don’t comment about the divorce process and children on social media.
- Don’t post feelings about the judicial officer assigned to the case.
- Don’t complain about how hard it is to raise children.
- Don’t show off any flashy new purchases.
It boils down to using common sense. It’s not always easy to stop oneself from expressing the difficult emotions that accompany divorce, but in the long run, refraining from social media during a divorce will ensure your posts are not used as evidence against you.
At the commencement of the divorce case, it can be helpful to review all prior social media posts, photos, and videos. Delete anything you would not want to end up in Court.
If Possible, Stay Off Social Media
Couples going through a divorce need to be mindful of their social media activity to increase the likelihood of successful marriage dissolution.
Regardless of which social media platforms one utilizes, there’s always room for error. Sometimes the best option is to disable or delete these applications until the divorce process is over.
Divorce is an incredibly delicate and emotionally-charged experience. Social media, while a great way to connect with family and friends, is also a breeding ground for conflict.
If possible, consult with an experienced divorce attorney on how to go about social media etiquette during a marriage dissolution.
This article contains general legal information and does not provide legal advice. For legal advice, please contact M. Sue Wilson Law Offices directly.