Everyone needs a strong support network while you’re going through divorce – but if you’re like most people, you stay connected to all the people you know through social media. During divorce, though, social media can get you into serious hot water with the courts, and it could even affect your case.
Here’s what you need to know about using social media during your divorce.
Social Media and Your Divorce
Social media is showing up in the courtroom more and more frequently. It’s not uncommon for someone to bring up a soon-to-be ex-spouse’s social media posts from Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or another network and use them as evidence during a divorce case. These types of posts can have a devastating effect on things like child custody and visitation, so it’s always going to be in your best interest to keep everything about your divorce off social media.
What if Your Social Media Accounts Are Private?
Even if you believe your social media accounts are “locked down,” it’s important that you refrain from posting anything about your divorce on your accounts. The bottom line is that your friends, family members and acquaintances aren’t under any obligation to keep the things you post private or confidential – and that means your spouse could be able to find out what you’re sharing, either directly or indirectly.
Here’s how things can go wrong. Check out these examples of social media being used against people during divorce:
- Sarah was supposed to pick up her kids from their dad’s house on Friday after school, but she called her soon-to-be ex-husband and told him that she had a flat tire and wouldn’t be able to come until Saturday morning. However, through her social media posts, her ex discovered that even if she did have a flat tire, she was out at the bar having fun with her friends on Friday night.
- Mike decided to start dating before his divorce was final, but he was keeping his relationship a secret from his soon-to-be ex-wife and from his children. However, he changed his Facebook status to “In a relationship” and posted a new profile picture featuring himself and his new girlfriend. He also posted that his girlfriend was moving into his house and that they intended to get married – and because he was asking for spousal support, the fact that he had another working adult living with him didn’t help his case.
What Not to Post
When you’re married – even if you’re certain that you’re going to get divorced from your spouse – it’s imperative that you don’t post negative things about your spouse on Facebook, Twitter or any other social media outlet. Your “marital laundry,” so to speak, needs to stay off the internet… even if you believe you’re only sharing it with your friends.
What to Do About Your Social Media Posts if Divorce is Imminent
When you’re getting divorced, take these precautions:
- Check your privacy settings. Make sure that only your friends can see what you post – and that nothing is public. Even if you routinely share happy, feel-good stories, all your accounts need to be locked down.
- Remove past posts that are negative, even if they’re not directly about your spouse. Take down anything that could be considered risqué or mean, too.
- Think about removing friends who could contribute to drama or anything negative. If someone is likely to spy on your posts and report back to your spouse, even though you intend to keep things completely general for the duration of your divorce, it’s time to say goodbye online – at least for now.
These might sound like extreme actions, but during your divorce, you need to know that social media is used against a lot of people.
Related: 13 co-parenting rules to live by
Do You Need to Talk to a Lawyer About Divorce?
If you’re considering divorce, or if your spouse has already filed, we may be able to help you. Call us at (209) 546-6870. We’ll be happy to answer your questions about child custody, child support, spousal maintenance and other divorce-related issues.