6 Social Media Mistakes to Avoid During a Divorce

Texting, posting, and tweeting seem like safe and innocent activities to most people – just a chance to put out spontaneous activities or thoughts to a few people. But this mistaken impression of social media puts people in jeopardy when facing a divorce.

When you text another person, you probably think of it as a conversation – private and disappearing with the wind. However, a text is a vital piece of recorded evidence that does not just disappear. Depending upon the carrier, your texts could be archived. Depending upon the person you send it to, it could be copied as a screenshot or saved in a software program.

With posting, you should have a sense that it stays out there on Facebook or Instagram. But you probably think little of who will see it. This can be a terrible mistake – if your privacy settings leave a post as public, it will be captured by Google and become part of the Internet forever. Even with narrower privacy settings, reposts and sharing could result in an image becoming part of the public Internet.

What could be the damage done in a divorce through social media?

At the risk of repeating ourselves, any social media act becomes potential evidence in your case. If it makes you look bad in any way, it will be used by your spouse’s attorney for that precise purpose. Sharing a photo of you in Cancun while you are claiming you cannot pay child support or spousal support will destroy your argument. A picture of you and your child could appear to paint you in a negative light as a parent. Many people use social media to vent their frustrations. We regularly see individuals who say terrible things about their spouse, the judge hearing their case, or the guardian ad litem appointed to make a custody evaluation. All of these words can come back to haunt you and cause you to lose your case.

So, we maintain that a person should essentially go dark on social media during a divorce because it serves as a shield against any impulsive behavior.

If you feel you must engage in some social media, and of course we all text and email, below are 6 social media mistakes should you avoid if you don’t want to add fuel to the fire.

1. Discussing the Details of Your Divorce

Social media is not the place to air grievances about the difficulties of the divorce process. It might be tempting to tell your side of the story, especially if your spouse is doing the same, but this can only lead to trouble. Maybe you want to talk about your legal strategy or share your financial problems. Perhaps you’re upset about things your spouse is saying about you to the court. Posting these details online could gain you a brief social and emotional boost of support from your online friends, but some of the details of your posts could be used against in court. This is especially true when it comes to information concerning your children. As a parent, you have a responsibility to protect the privacy of your children. Although they are a very important part of your life and you want to post about your special moments and events with your family and friends, it could easily lead to problems with your spouse, the Guardian ad Litem, or the judge assigned to your case. Before you post, consider what could happen if the things you post end up in the hands of your spouse’s lawyers. Socially sharing the details of your divorce online is not a good idea.

2. Talking Poorly About Your Spouse

This should be an obvious do not do, whether you’re currently in the process of divorcing or you have many years of joint custody exchanges to look forward to. When your spouse behaves poorly or causes you to have a lot of anger, it can be tempting to post your frustrations to your online friends and family but remember that what you post can live on the internet forever. It doesn’t matter if your spouse is the bad actor. It doesn’t matter if your spouse is bad-mouthing you. You cannot use these details as an excuse to criticize your spouse or make accusations against him or her. Why not? Because when you post the intimate details of your failed relationship online, it may have the opposite effect of what you intend. Instead of showing your spouse in a bad light, it could make you look petty and call your character and your credibility into question. This isn’t a good look for a spouse who wants to receive spousal maintenance or child custody. Although it’s difficult to take the high road in a divorce, it’s necessary if you want to accomplish your goals for the end of the divorce case.

3. Posting About Your Mental Health

To be clear, it’s normal to want to post about your emotions as you go through the process of divorce. You are suffering the loss of your partner and the future you had planned together. You may be angry or sad or have a myriad of other negative emotions. You might suffer from depression, alcoholism, or thoughts of wanting to do self-harm. What you don’t want to do is post about these private mental health matters on social media for everyone to see. Your spouse might use this information to request sole legal and physical custody of your children or try to make you look dangerous when you are testifying in court. Avoid this possibility by not posting about your mental health on social media.

4. Assuming Your Posts Are Private

It doesn’t matter what kind of privacy settings you use or if you have multiple socials under different names. You should always assume that your spouse can gain access to your profiles and share that information with their attorney. While you might block your spouse, his or her family and friends, you still have many other followers who could offer up access to your posts. Consider how many mutual friends of you and your spouse follow you on social media. Any one of them could send the posts you share with your spouse. Remember, the posts you don’t share online will not be sent to your spouse and harm your divorce case.

5. Posting About Your Dating Life

Nothing is likely to turn your spouse against you faster than seeing posts of you dating someone new. Posting dating pics is asking for trouble. You might not think it will be sent to your spouse, but you should always assume it will be. Before you post online, think about how you would feel seeing photos of your spouse being romantic and happy with someone else. Assume this is how your spouse will feel. If you don’t want the drama that’s likely to ensue when you post photos of your dating life, the best option is to hold off on posting until your divorce is final.

6. Posting When You’re Not Sure It’s a Good Idea

Social media is a powerful tool for connecting with family, friends, colleagues, and even strangers with shared interests. When you create profiles and start sharing, it’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking everyone following you is your friend and has your best interests at heart. As a result, you may overshare, posting personal details that should be kept private. Use common sense when deciding what to post online. Is it a good idea to post a photo of yourself enjoying a drink at a friend’s house? What about a photo of you and your children having fun with your girlfriend or boyfriend? These may seem innocent, but taken from the perspective of your spouse, they could impact your divorce case. While you don’t necessarily have to stop posting on social media during your divorce, if you’re the least bit unsure about posting something, discuss your concerns with your attorney before posting. If you want to skip the cost of legal advice, when in doubt if this is a good idea to post, just don’t post.

Should you need the assistance of an experienced divorce and child custody attorney in Creve Coeur and O’Fallon or have questions about your divorce situation, know that we are here to help and ready to discuss those questions with you.

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