Social Media and Divorce in the Modern Age
Social media has a significant impact on our modern lives. People young and old connect with each other through platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. This interconnectedness changes the way we relate to each other offline as well.
If you are going through a divorce, you may find past social media actions affect the real life proceedings. Modern judges allow attorneys to submit social media posts, photos, screenshots, and text messages as evidence in divorce cases. They are public documents and admissible in a court of law. To protect yourself, avoid these common social media mistakes while going through a divorce.
Stick to Your Story
While going through divorce proceedings, being honest and open regarding your side of the story is very important. It is your responsibility to provide full and frank disclosure to determine a fair financial agreement amongst other issues. If your online presence does not accurately reflect the information you provide in court, your ex-partner can use that against your interests.
For instance, one partner may request alimony to supplement a low income. However, if that same partner posts photos on Instagram of a recent vacation or a fancy new car, these pictures may be submitted as evidence that said partner does not need additional income. Be open and honest about what you need and what you have and make sure your social media presence reflects honestly as well.
Always Consider the Worst Case Scenario
People are smart enough not to post incriminating evidence on Facebook whether or not they are going through a divorce. However, often people find their seemingly innocuous posts thrown in their face as proof against them. Before you post, assume your ex’s lawyer will use that content against you in divorce court.
A photo of you with your kids seems innocent enough– you may even think it shows you value time with your children. However, an errant beer in the background of that same photo may prove to a judge that you are not responsible enough as a parent. This, in turn, affects your paternity case. While this may sound far-fetched, these cases have precedence. Always assume that whatever you post is potentially harmful towards your case.
Choose Your Friends Wisely
Many people unfriend or block their ex-spouse when going through a divorce. Blocking helps protect your posts from being available to them as evidence. While it’s a good idea to do this, it does not prevent them from having access to your profiles.
Often, people will use mutual friends to access an ex-partner’s Facebook or Twitter. If a mutual friend is not available, people have been known to create fake profiles to seek access. In addition to making your profiles private, be very wary of the “friends” you accept. Have no idea who they are? Do not allow them access to your profile.
Stay Civil and Don’t Overshare
Going through a break-up is difficult for everyone involved. While you may feel like taking your negative emotions towards your ex out on your Twitter, you must avoid the temptation. Never post anything that would embarrass you if it was to be read before a judge. Chances are, it will eventually get there and damage your character in the court of law.
You may also feel like writing about your divorce through social media. If you put the information out there, you don’t have to answer questions from nosy friends and family, right? Wrong– divulging information about your divorce proceedings publicly is a terrible idea. Doing this shows you do not take the divorce seriously enough. You want to appear mature and level headed in front of the judge, so don’t overshare like an immature teenager.
Delete Your Account
There was once a time before social media, and we were all fine. Deleting your social media accounts is the most surefire way to prevent yourself from making a mistake that will be used against you. Deleting your account is more effective than any privacy setting available on any platform.
In addition to protecting your image, removing yourself from social media has various other benefits. Quitting social media opens up your life and provides more free time to do the things you love. You stop comparing yourself to others and become happier with yourself. You start to enjoy your surroundings for what they are and stop trying to curate a perfect image. Furthermore, considering social media creates conflict within romantic relationships, deleting your account allows room for a healthier relationship with any future partner.