Social media has become a central part of our lives. However, you should be cautious about using social media while going through a divorce. That “innocent” post could end up costing you thousands of dollars, or even worse, your kids. Here are the do’s and don’ts of using social media during a divorce.
Do’s of using social media
#1 – Do assume your social media posts will be used as evidence against you.
Social media posts can and will be used as evidence in your family law case. This is especially true in divorces involving child custody.
#2 – Do change your social media (and email) passwords as soon as possible.
It’s likely your ex knows or can guess your passwords. Better safe than sorry—change your passwords.
#3 – Do change your social media privacy settings to the strictest setting possible.**
It’s not only your ex that you should be cautious of. Your ex may use friends, family members, and even their attorney to monitor your posts for anything to use against you in your case.
#4 – Do stop or significantly reduce posting on social media during your divorce.
An amicable divorce is best for all parties, and especially if children are involved. A contested divorce increases stress and legal fees. So, why risk ruining your chance at an amicable divorce with a careless social media post?
#5 – Do ask your family and friends not to tag you in photos or make negative posts about your ex.
That tagged picture of you smiling with a new friend—although completely innocent—may be construed as more. A negative post about your ex made by your mother, who also babysits your children, may be used to call into question whether you having custody of your children is in their best interest. Assume everything can and will be used against you in a divorce, including posts made by your friends and family.
Don’ts of using social media
#1 – Don’t delete your profile or previous social media posts without talking with your attorney first.
If you’re involved in litigation or you are anticipating litigation, deleting your social media could constitute illegal destruction of evidence.
#2 – Don’t make negative posts.
Ranting about how horrible your ex will never help you. Your comments will be seen by your friends, your family, the parents of your children’s friends, your children’s school, your employer, and most importantly—your ex. Why let a negative post ruin your reputation or make your divorce harder than it has to be?
#3 – Don’t post pictures of how great everything is going for you.
Concerts with friends, a fancy new car, or celebrating with coworkers over a drink can all be twisted and used to paint a negative story about you. For example, you’re spending excessively, not focused on your children, or prioritizing partying and drinking over caring for your children.
#4 – Don’t assume your ex won’t use your posts against you.
Be careful in assuming your ex is not that type of person. When the stakes are high, people will often do whatever it takes to win—even if it means acting irrationally.
#5 – Don’t change your relationship status from “married” to “single.”
Changing your relationship status could enrage your ex or hurt your ex’s feelings to the point where they don’t want to continue settlement negotiations. If your goal is an uncontested divorce (i.e., less stress and legal fees), you should avoid doing anything that may cause your ex to act irrationally.
This McNeelyLaw LLP publication should not be construed as legal advice or legal opinion of any specific facts or circumstances. The contents are intended for general informational purposes only, and you are urged to consult your own lawyer on any specific legal questions you may have concerning your situation.