Advance Disclaimer: The following is not a substitute for legal advice. Speak with your attorney to learn how to navigate the complexities of your unique case. Charlotte Content Marketing contributed some portions of this article.
Divorce in the digital age comes with a set of challenges divorcing couples of the past didn’t face. Most notably, people going through a modern divorce have questions about the use of social media during a marital separation. Social media is ubiquitous in society, and it can be very tempting to start posting about your divorce and your ex on Facebook, Twitter, and other platforms. If you speak with a divorce attorney, however, you’re likely going to be encouraged to take a moment to think before hitting the “send” button. Right now, how you navigate social media usage during a divorce has the potential to impact your case.
How Social Media Can Impact Divorce Proceedings
Remember that what you say on social media may be admissible as evidence in court. This includes not only text posts and private messages but also photos, videos, graphics, and other forms of media. Both public posts and private or direct messages have the potential to be used against you during a divorce proceeding. Unfortunately, social media platforms make it all too easy to fire off an emotional post or message in the heat of the moment, but this is where you can hinder your case.
What you think is a throwaway comment could have more significant implications when paired with other evidence. Making a seemingly innocuous comment can lead the other side to take your words out of context or twist your intent to make it seem like you meant something you didn’t. Unfortunately, once something is posted on social media or sent via a messenger app, you can’t take it back and may have few options to clarify your statements.
This is why it’s best to minimize your use of social media altogether during a divorce. This can be challenging since many people rely on social media for support from friends and family during trying times, but it may be better to seek support in person until your divorce becomes final. Now may also be an excellent time to look for other ways to occupy your time and positively relieve stress. Taking up a new hobby, getting outdoors more often, and exercising can all be fantastic alternatives to using social media when you need to blow off steam.
Stay Away From Your Ex’s Profiles
Avoiding your ex’s social media profiles during your divorce is also essential, even if you aren’t using social media yourself. There are a few reasons for this, including: You may be tempted to react negatively to content that is posted on your ex’s profiles Your ex may intentionally post content to get you worked up Posts, comments, replies, and private messages sent to your ex’s profile can be used to demonstrate a pattern of communication behaviors that can work against you.
If you must be in contact with your ex during a divorce, you’re encouraged to work through your attorney. Your attorney can provide guidance based on the unique circumstances of your case to position you in the best possible manner if you cannot avoid contact.
Tips to Protect Yourself Online During a Divorce
If you do decide to use social media during your divorce, below are some tips to help you stay protected and avoid harming your case:
Avoid Posting Negative Comments About Your Ex
Speaking negatively of your ex on social media can be tempting, particularly if you’re in the middle of a contentious divorce, but this is a recipe for disaster. Even if you can somehow take emotion out of the situation, speaking negatively about your ex opens you up to trouble. The judge in your case doesn’t know you and will have to base all opinions on the evidence presented.
For example, suppose it can be demonstrated that you have a history of making negative or defamatory public remarks about your ex. In that case, this can support evidence that the other side may use to attack your character. In turn, this can affect the outcome of your divorce case. Something else to keep in mind – Depending on the circumstances of your case, posting certain information on social media may also give your ex ammunition to use against you in a civil suit after your divorce is finalized. Don’t fall into this trap.
Adjust Your Privacy Settings
You can also protect yourself by ensuring that your privacy settings are strict. Most social media platforms provide the ability to control who can see your posts, pictures, list of friends, and more. Use these controls to lock down your social media profiles and limit what is displayed publicly. Still, be mindful of what you post, as friends with access can take screenshots and send them to others. Unless your attorney advises you to stay in contact with your ex due to factors like minor children involved in your divorce case, you may also consider changing the privacy settings on any messenger features of social media. This will prevent your ex or any of your ex’s associates from contacting you directly.
Keep Things Light
If you do decide to post on social media during your divorce, keep the subject matter light. Once again, it can be tempting to post about your emotions and divorce, but this is often a bad idea. Things can be misconstrued easily online, and posts taken out of context may harm your case. Your posts should not include charged language. They should also avoid discussing personal details about your daily life, information about your divorce proceedings, or updates about your mental or emotional health. Be mindful of posting about your social life, new romantic partners, or anything to do with drugs or alcohol. You are encouraged to seek medical assistance immediately if you are experiencing symptoms like depression and anxiety, but posting about these topics on social media can backfire. Therefore, any healthcare discussions should remain between you and your physician.
Special Precautions When Minor Children Are Involved
If your divorce involves minor children and custody decisions are at stake, avoid discussing your children online or posting pictures. You may think that posting pictures of you being a great parent will help your case, but it’s best to avoid posting about your children at all. Once again, things can get twisted and taken out of context. Your attorney can provide you with additional guidance regarding your unique divorce case.
Talk to Your Attorney
Your divorce attorney is the best resource for all decisions regarding the use of social media during a divorce. Contact your attorney if you’re unsure whether to post something on social media. Every divorce case is different, and your divorce attorney will be able to offer legal advice on how to proceed based on the circumstances of your divorce.
Schedule Your Consultation With a Divorce Attorney
To learn more tips for dealing with social media during a divorce, contact a divorce attorney. It’s better to discuss your needs with a professional rather than take a chance. Your attorney will be able to provide specialized guidance to tackle your unique circumstances.