Will my posts on social media actually affect my divorce?
Social media is a regular part of life. People post photos of their kids, pets, food, and even their self on a daily basis. It is a place to connect with friends and family we may not see often. For many, it can become a battlefield during a divorce. Some divorces are amicable, no fuss and no mess. The rest of the divorces that happen in this country can be brutal. Otherwise nice and kind people begin to say and do things they never thought they would ever do. Sadly, these cases escalate and fights break out over custody, assets, and money.
What many people don’t realize is that social media can play a key role in their divorce. Social media content is more widely accepted in courts now than ever before. Photos, posts, messages, likes, and shared content can be presented as evidence. In some divorces, it may be prudent to temporarily shut down or deactivate your social media accounts during the divorce process. That is the best way to stop yourself from posting anything that may be seen as ammunition for the other party. For people who elect to keep their social media accounts, just remember that there are ways your social media accounts can sabotage your divorce.
The Dos and Don’ts of Social Media and Divorce
Divorce can become very emotional even in cases that first start out as amicable. That’s why we’ve put together this list of things you should and shouldn’t do on social media during your divorce.
Do – It’s important to adjust your privacy setting and be aware who is allowed to see what you post, share, and like. Even if you are sure you have restricted your former spouse, they may have people who are monitoring your page. Social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook have privacy settings that enable you to show nothing on your account to the public.
Don’t – It’s not wise to post negative statuses or photos of your former spouse. Anger or frustration isn’t a reason, certainly not in the eyes of the court. Even if you use strict privacy settings keep in mind that you still shouldn’t post negative things because someone on your list of friends may screenshot it and give it to your former spouse.
Do – Keep screenshots of any messages or online interactions you have with your former spouse. Things may become heated. They may say things that they would not dare say in public or want the judge to see. Notify your attorney of threats, harassment, and anything else you think they need to know about. Make sure that you have backup copies of your screenshots.
Don’t – Don’t talk about your dating life. Avoid dating sites. Even if you are ready to get out into the dating scene, information submitted to dating sites may be conflicting to what has been reported to the judge. Many dating websites ask about occupation and yearly salary and that information is shown to other users. So, if you list a higher income on a dating site and your former spouse takes a screenshot of it, it could be used against you in court or give the other party a foothold in asking for more financial information.
Do – Be responsible about the photos and information that you share on your social media accounts. Before posting consider this: Would I want the judge or the opposing attorney to see this? Could it be used against me during the divorce? When in doubt, don’t post it.
Don’t – Stalk your former spouse online. There are laws in most states that people can use if they are being stalked, bullied or harassed online. You could end up with a VPO against you. Being aware about what they are posting is fine, but stalking them can only cause you unneeded stress and legal troubles. If you believe that you are being harassed, take screenshots and provide them to your attorney.
Do – Be sensible about your check-ins. Most people don’t know this, but your check-ins on Facebook are documented and tracked. They can be available to the public, your former spouse, and their attorney may be able to see all your movements.
Don’t – Don’t talk about everything on social media. It’s tempting to log onto your social media account and share every thought and feeling. Social media is not a diary. Speaking about the divorce, ongoing hearings, and venting about your former spouse should be avoided.
Do – Alert your attorney if you think you have made poor social media choices. They can be better prepared for anything the other side may try to use during the hearing or as exhibits for motions. Everyone makes mistakes. Owning yours is the responsible thing to do.
Don’t – It’s not wise to post photos or posts related to drugs, alcohol, or partying. Appearances are deceiving and posts like that give the appearance you are not responsible. This is especially important when children are involved.
Do – Keeping a low profile is your best bet. Limit the amount of ammunition the other side can use against you.
Don’t – If the judge is under the impression you are having a tough time “making ends meet,” do not post photos of expensive purchases you have made. Not everything you post is absolutely private and you risk either losing your claim that you need alimony or you may end up paying more alimony.
Questions About Divorce and Social Media?
If you have questions about navigating social media during divorce, or anything related to a high net worth divorce, contact Petrelli Previtera. We are matrimonial trial attorneys who provide services for high net worth divorce cases in both Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Know your rights. Contact Petrelli Previtera to schedule your consultation. Call us now: 215-523-6900.