How Social Networking Can Affect Your Divorce

November 23rd, 2015

You may view updating your Facebook status, posting a new picture on Instagram, or tweeting your reaction to your favorite television show as a quick, fun activity that helps you relieve stress. However, when you are involved in a divorce, or any legal proceeding, that information can be used against you. The saying that “a picture is worth a thousand words” is true:  if you were to post a picture of yourself engaging in illegal behavior, or with unsavory people, or looking intoxicated while caring for your children, it can speak volumes to a judge who is looking at what is in your children’s best interest.  The content does not even have to be illegal or explicit to result in trouble for your case. Any time you post something that contradicts a representation you or your attorney is making to the Court in a pending proceeding, it can be viewed as reason to question your truthfulness.

Once you split up from your significant other, your first step should be to change your passwords so your ex does not have access to your accounts. Do not create fake accounts; more often than not, those secret accounts are not so secret and, when they get discovered, not only are you caught with less than perfect behavior, you will have actively tried to deceive people about your behavior.

So what do you do to limit the potential impact of a poorly thought out social networking “check-in”? The simplest way to ensure that your social media content is not used against you is not to share anything on social media. If you do not share something, it does not exist to be used against you later. Even the best privacy settings will allow someone else to see what you have posted.  If a person with whom you have shared information were to “like” your post or share your post with others, then people you did not intend to see it may now have access to what you posted.

Most people however, are so used to using various forms of social media on a daily basis that stopping all social media interaction would result in a feeling of being cut off from the world.  So perhaps a more realistic recommendation is only to post things that you would be okay being made public. If you are comfortable with your boss knowing that you ate pizza for dinner, then posting a picture of that meal would be fine.  Conversely, if you are not comfortable with the sketchy neighbor down the street knowing that you know your new computer has been delivered and you cannot wait to get home and play with it, then do not post that information. You can also limit the various websites to which you add content. It is easier to monitor your content and make sure no one has hacked into your accounts if you have fewer accounts to monitor. Finding a diversion or hobby can be a great way to replace the time you would have spent checking social media and can help you move into a life that no longer includes your former spouse. Divorce may seem like it takes a lifetime to get through, but even the messiest ones eventually end. The fuller your life has become during the divorce process, the easier it will be when it is finally over!  In the meantime, be sure to exercise caution with social networking.