During a divorce, social media has the capabilities of being your Achilles heel. Social media mistakes cost money, custody and heartbreak. Sometimes, social media activity can determine which parent gains custody of the children. Posts on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and even Snapchat may have consequences.
Since social media is central to modern life, it sometimes even leads to divorce. A study from the University of Missouri School of Journalism indicates that Facebook may play a role in 20 percent of all divorces. In addition, social media may influence the outcome of the divorce process.
Social media posts are sometimes admissible as evidence during proceedings. According to a 2010 survey by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, 80 percent of family law attorneys saw an increase in number of social media presented as evidence. Any signs of poor judgment or proof of deceptive behavior posted on social media might have financial and legal consequences.
Additionally, posting inflammatory comments escalated conflicts and causes unnecessary hurt feelings. These posts may be harmful to your children and have severe implications. It also creates a messier situation than is necessary.
To protect yourself, follow these general guidelines:
Be aware that your social media post may be evidence
As mentioned, judges routinely admit evidence that originated on social media during divorce proceedings. As social media continues to become a bigger part of daily life, this may be more common.
Be careful with mutual friends and followers
Even if you block a former spouse, he or she may see or learn about your posts through mutual friends. Posts your friends make may also damage your case.
Update your privacy settings
Now is the right time to check all privacy settings. Be sure to disable your friend’s ability to tag you in pictures or post to your wall until after your divorce is final. It may be an even better idea to turn off location settings and avoid social media check-ins altogether.
Keep it classy
Many people see their social media network as a source for emotional support. It is no surprise that people vent about their heartbreak during a divorce. However, posting your private business can lead to a loss of reputation or worse. Realize that anything you post may be seen by your children, your family, your employer, your former spouse and the judge. Silence on social media is golden while you work through the divorce process.
Remember the post may exist even after you press delete
This advice applies to “temporary” media like Snapchat. Even if the post does “disappear,” there is no guarantee that someone did not take a screenshot or download your post. The best way to prevent social media embarrassment is to curb or limit your social media activity.
Seek expert legal counsel
Social media’s impact on the legal system is growing every day. To protect your best interests throughout the divorce process, contact a family law attorney at Kennedy Law Associates for up-to-date advice and counsel.