Social Media During Divorce

Meg Soffen, Intern

Meg Soffen, Intern

Social media serves as a platform on which to share your thoughts and opinions, and vent about the troubles of your daily life. When you are getting divorced, however, it’s crucial to filter your online behavior so that you treat your ex-partner with respect and avoid jeopardizing your reputation for the trials that lie ahead. Social media don’t during divorce: here are some tips to make sure your social media presence is appropriate during your divorce.

Don’t attack your ex:

It is natural to be angry and feel hurt by your ex-partner when you’re going through a divorce, but nothing good can come from bashing your ex on social media. Not only will it increase the (already high) tension between the two of you, but it can also put an unnecessary burden on your mutual friends and family to be involved in your divorce. This can be especially damaging if your kids have access to your social media accounts.

Attacking your ex online will also seem temperamental and inconsiderate. Remember that at this point, your ex is your legal opponent—berating them only gives them a legal advantage.

Don’t post impulsively

Although the transition from being married to being single may have you feeling frustrated or alone, posting viscerally on social media will lead to trouble– no matter the subject.

  • Sharing your intense emotions and coping mechanisms on social media might feel good in the moment (as opening up to friends about your feelings and emotions usually does). But posting about your divorce experience- even in a joking manner- can be used at hearings to make you seem unstable or unhealthy. The same goes for coping mechanisms, especially those that involve excess alcohol or food.
  • Sharing the difficulties of parenting is normally completely acceptable—after all, sharing the story of your child’s most recent public breakdown often yields support from fellow parents who can relate to your situation. But too much complaining about parenting troubles (no matter how standard they may be) might act against you as you enter custody hearings, or when the judge is considering your parenting plan.
  • Complaining about a judge after an unfavorable ruling might feel like you’re providing a public service to others who are going to go through the same experience. But remember, the judge is simply doing her job, and none of her decisions are made based on personal vendetta.

Each of these kinds of impulsive postings is simply an opportunity for your opposing counsel to prove that you are not stable, not responsible, and/or not reasonable. At the end of the day, these kinds of posts can affect your settlements, Parenting Plans, and custody hearings.

Don’t incriminate yourself:

Settling into “the single life” manifests differently among different people: some turn to retail therapy and buy themselves a nice, new car. Others begin spending more nights out on the town with their friends. And although it’s necessary for each person to adjust in his/her own way, these kinds of activities are dangerous to put on the internet while you’re going through a divorce.

  • Posting about your new-founded dating, drinking, and partying habits can make you seem out of control and unstable.
  • Don’t post about your money, spending habits, or accounts. Pictures of your brand-new car, though glamorous, can serve as evidence when reviewing your financial needs or spousal support. Ideally, the only documentation about your finances and spending habits should be submitted by you, to the Court.

Don’t feel like you need to block your ex:

If your split is cordial (and especially if you are co-parenting), consider staying connected on social media. If you are tired of seeing their posts, you can always switch your settings so they don’t show up on your feed (“hiding” them on Facebook, “muting” them on Twitter, etc.).

But, of course, know thyself—if your split was not cordial or if you are afraid for your privacy, blocking your ex on social media might be the right call. But remember that switching your privacy settings doesn’t necessarily mean that your ex and their opposing counsel are completely blocked from your profile. Facebook, among other sites, is notorious for changing their privacy settings without the user’s consent. And in some cases, they might still be able to access your profile through mutual friends.

Don’t delete any of your posts:

During your divorce, anything you post on social media can be considered legal evidence. You may be compelled to edit down your social media by deleting all your #ManCrushMonday/ #WomanCrushWednesday posts and any pictures of you two together. But if you do this, you will technically be disposing of evidence (“spoliation”), which does not reflect favorably on you and it may not be legal.

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