Kathleen J. Smith, Attorney at Law

The negative impact social media can have on your divorce

Social media is part of life, and you may be one of the millions whose morning check of Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or Pinterest is as important to you as your cup of coffee. However, if you are also among the thousands filing for divorce this year, you may need to re-evaluate your social media habits, at least for the time being.

In addition to the personal impact your social media presence may have during your divorce, you may also make yourself vulnerable to negative consequences in the legal process. In fact, 81 percent of family law attorneys report using evidence from social media to assist their clients in obtaining a more favorable settlement.

The legal damage

If you expect your divorce to include heated disputes over spousal support or property division, you may want to avoid posting pictures or statuses about your latest vacation, new purchase or spending sprees. Any evidence that you have more money than you claim could go badly for you in court, and even innocent comments about your financial status may follow you to court with an incriminating interpretation.

Additionally, while you may be feeling the stress of the divorce, letting off steam in inappropriate or illegal ways then posting the proof on social media may not be wise at this delicate time. If child custody issues are in the balance, you will want to be especially careful to keep your activities prudent and private.

The personal damage

You may find great emotional release in posting the sordid details of your breakup or the latest infuriating behavior of your soon-to-be ex-spouse. It may be especially rewarding if your hundreds of friends sympathize with thumbs-up and supportive comments. However, remember who can see your posts. There is always the potential that your boss or future boss will read your uncensored drama or that your children will one day see the vitriol you posted about their other parent.

Other social media activity that can bring hurt to you and your family includes:

  • Posting your decision to divorce without respect for other family members or your spouse
  • Continuing to spy on your ex's social media after the divorce is finalized
  • Blocking your ex completely, especially if you are co-parenting
  • Oversharing details about the ways you are moving on from your marriage, including dates and new romances
  • Failing to follow the advice of your legal counsel concerning your use of social media

Your attorney has dealt with many divorces and the ramifications of the overuse of social media during this painful and emotional event. By following the suggestions your counsel offers, you may avoid many of the pitfalls common in divorces where social media is a factor.

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