Too Much Social Media Sharing and Divorce

On behalf of The Marks Law Firm, L.L.C. posted in Divorce and Social Media on Friday September 27, 2013

The entertainment news feeds have been abuzz with Jada Pinkett Smith’s Facebook diary, where she recounts very personal thoughts and opinions about her life, her marriage, her family, and her close friends’ lives.  In these diary entries, she talks in veiled references about past addictions, how to handle a “bad” marriage, gives advice to a friend on when to divorce and other personal topics relative to her own marriage lifeline.  Given that rumors have long suggested that she and Will Smith have an “open” marriage or will soon divorce, should Jada really post such personal information?  In a word – no.

Generally, even in a community property state like California, statements about how one would handle a divorce become very public statements against interest from which it may be hard to escape.  Also, disparaging a spouse or the marriage, on a very public forum, shows a lack of respect for the marriage and the spouse that could qualify as misconduct.

Social media has the distinct disadvantage of leaving a permanent footprint, unlike numerous he said/she said arguments that become tests of credibility.  A virtual paper trail of one’s thoughts about marriage, your spouse, parenting, your children – all can lead to very severe consequences.  One has only to recall the infamous “pig” audiotape of Alec Baldwin on a voicemail to his daughter that cost him custodial time (not to mention the public humiliation) for proof that one’s own words have a more potent impact than some third party accounting.

Because of this permanence and the general sense that leaving such a footprint is evidence of bad judgment, spouses should be weary of using social media in this context.  One comment thread complaining about picking up your child could develop into a long rant that becomes the basis of claiming you cannot handle the parenting load.

The overall danger of social media today is that people tend to post reflexively, without a filter, without thinking who will read it or whether it will remain “permanent” or not.  Though these off-the-cuff remarks may not reflect the character of a person or even what he or she meant in the moment, all that remains is that digital footprint.

We have stated in previous posts that spouses thinking of divorce and definitely former spouses should refrain from making any statement on social media they would not want entered in a court proceeding.  It seems with Jada Pinkett Smith and her oversharing that we should take that information to heart.

If you have questions about social media and divorce, contact us – we can help.

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