Divorce has always been a complicated process, but in the age of social media, things are stickier than ever. Social media is used for a variety of purposes. People post business accomplishments, their child’s milestones, vent about their political frustrations, brag about their vacations, show off their new toys, share fun recipes and silly cat videos and more. Some see their social media accounts as a safe haven, and may even feel more open about their lives online than they are in person. However, when it comes to people who are in the process of divorce, this can be a dangerous way to think, and in many cases, it can be costly in terms of dollars and reputation.
What to do about your social media account
As soon as you start to feel that a divorce might be “in the air” it is a good idea to scale back your social media use and double check that your settings give you as much privacy as possible. If friends have the ability to tag you in photos, disable the feature if you can. Some even suggest stepping away from your accounts completely, but if you choose not to, it is important to be smart about what you choose to share. There are several types of posts that can be used as evidence in a divorce. Here are a few unwise uses of your social media accounts:
- Posting anything when you are in a compromised state. This includes times when you are feeling emotional, if you’ve been drinking, or even after you’ve finished a court appearance or mediation session. Among the worst offenses would be to show yourself doing something illegal or immoral. These types of posts can call your stability into question, which could hurt custody cases.
- Making private issues public. Setting privacy settings high is important, but not everyone remembers that anything written down can potentially be misused. Some friends may try to reach out and be supportive via your accounts. Some will ask personal questions or post personal messages of support on your main page, but even if they are sending you a private message, there is a chance that your conversation may get into the wrong hands.
- Not knowing who your friends are. Generally speaking, if you wouldn’t want to pick up the phone and call one of your social media friends, you may want to reconsider the friendship. Often, some of a couple’s mutual friends end up taking sides when the couple is going through a divorce, and you don’t want to be connected to someone who might use information against you. It’s a good time to clean house and unfriend “e-friends” or friends of friends you don’t know and trust.
- Excessive bragging. Some of the most common posts on social media include vacation photos or pictures of life-changing or attractive purchases such as a new car or piece of jewelry. Posting these kinds of things can easily send a mixed message. If you’ve just taken a trip to Jamaica, do you really have the right to declare that you need to collect spousal support, or that you can’t afford to pay it?
At Family Legal Center in Monroeville, Pennsylvania, we bring more than 20 years experience, excellent listening skills and compassion to all our family law cases. How you conduct yourself throughout the divorce process, both online and offline, matters. Whether you see the tide turning in your marriage, or the breakup process has already begun, contact us to learn more about your rights in a divorce and how to make the best of your situation.