Social media has become a crucial part of our daily lives, from sharing special moments to staying in touch with loved ones and keeping up with recent events. While platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok offer a wide range of benefits, social media platforms can also adversely impact relationships and lead to divorce.
A 2010 American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (AAML) survey reported that four out of five lawyers saw an increasing number of divorce cases, where Facebook was the main culprit. Moreover, social media can also impact your rights in divorce proceedings, when private and sensitive information is used as evidence in court.
How Does Social Media Affect a Divorce?
The following are the most common ways social media can leak your information and potentially impact your divorce proceedings.
Information Related To Your Financial Situation
For instance, if you block your soon-to-be-divorced spouse on all social media but continue to post about vacations, new vehicles, or other expensive aspects of your life, you may come under fire for concealing assets, which can affect your divorce rights. “If a parent’s income is under question in a child support or spousal maintenance case, his or her LinkedIn profile may be supporting evidence for proving the ability to find employment,” note divorce lawyers at Ciancio Ciancio Brown, P.C. Anything you post on social media can be leveraged against you, even if you think you’ve blocked them: what happens on the internet stays on the internet.
Information Related To Your Personal Life
If someone leaks photos or videos of you indulging in risky behaviors – such as substance consumption around minors, this could seriously impact your child custody and co-parenting rights.
Information Related To Your Sentiments About The Divorce
People often use social media to vent their feelings and express their emotions. If you get too carried away and reveal sensitive or damaging information about your ex-spouse to your friends and family, that could be detrimental to your divorce case.
How to Protect Your Privacy and Reputation While Through a Divorce
When some people decide to divorce, they may try to look for their spouse’s misbehavior online so they can later use the evidence against them. Once the divorce has been finalized, you must pay close attention to your social media usage. Almost all divorce attorneys will advise you to exercise caution when using social media, even if it is locked or protected. It is very easy to take screenshots or do screen recordings.
It is best to avoid using social media altogether during the divorce. However, if you decide to use it, be very careful about your post. Avoid talking negatively about the other parent and keep in mind that your child may also find out nearly everything you share online.
If your family or friends might write something online about the divorce, ask them to be careful, too, especially if it involves a serious conflict or a possibly challenging child custody question.
Take a look at your privacy settings and update them immediately. If you have people on your social media handles who you don’t completely trust, remove them. Keep your friends/followers list limited to your closest and most trusted people.
If you fear that your former partner might harass or stalk you, privacy can be especially fundamental. Limit people from tagging you in photos and turn off your location. If you are worried about cyber harassment, consult with a reputable attorney about what you can do to protect yourself.
In some states, such as New Jersey, cyber-harassment is seen as a form of domestic violence. If you become a victim of other types of online harassment, such as revenge porn, you may have to pursue criminal charges against the responsible parties.
Navigating Social Media During and After a Divorce
Divorce is never easy and the role of social media has made it even trickier. Knowing what you post on social media can and may be used against you can be another daunting thought during a complicated time. It is best to use caution when discussing private matters online and when in doubt, don’t post.