How Can My Facebook Profile Affect My Divorce?
What’s your favorite social media site? Facebook? Twitter? Instagram? SnapChat? Social media allows us not only the opportunity to share details and photos about our hobbies and important life events, but also lets us express ourselves however we wish.
Depending on the content of your posts, however, that self-expression can be risky—especially when we go through legal battles, such as divorce. What you say and do on social media, whether or not your divorce from your partner is amicable, could be used by your opposing party as evidence against you, with huge consequences—namely, custody of your children. And no matter how fast you think you’ve deleted a post, the internet is forever. (Screenshots, anyone?)
Divorce and Custody
If you have children, you could find yourself in the midst of a custody battle. What you say on social media could directly impact which partner wins, and in some cases, whether or not you’ll even be allowed to see your children, even if you aren’t granted custody.
- Stay positive. Even if things did not end well with your ex, it is within your best interests to look, at least for the purpose of legal proceedings, like the “bigger person.” Though social media is a popular place to vent, your followers can offer you emotional support, but they do not make the final decision in the courtroom. Think about it like writing for your audience, except your audience is the judge, whether or not you’re personally Facebook friends with them. This goes for comments sections, too—you’re easier to find online than you think. Keep wisecracks to yourself, for now.
- Post responsibly. It’s good sometimes to let loose with friends, but avoid posting photographs on social media that might show you over-drinking or acting irresponsibly in other ways. Posting about new romances or expensive new toys can also get you into trouble.
- Don’t delete posts. During divorce proceedings, your posts are no longer just posts—they’re evidence. Their deletion then becomes “spoilation,” or getting rid of evidence.
- Do not message your ex any more than legally allowed or strictly necessary. Harassing your ex will not make you seem like a responsible adult. Violating a restraining order definitely won’t do that for you, either.
Taking Care of Yourself
It’s impossible for most people to have complete privacy on the internet. Even if you’ve blocked someone or use the strictest of the site’s privacy settings, a mutual Facebook friend or Twitter or Instagram follower could still see your posts and pictures and report them back to people who might not have your best interests at heart.
But that’s no reason to delete all of your accounts! Here are some methods to being social media smart while you’re going through your divorce:
- Log off. Research shows scrolling social media has the ability to make people feel sad or lonely; after all, you’re seeing people post their best pictures, their most exciting news, their funnest recent outings. You’re already going through a procedure most people find very emotionally draining, so if social media ever makes you feel bad, limit your screen time. Visit with friends, go take a walk, or do something else healthy to take up your time.
- Don’t “flex” on your ex. Feeling upset or angry at the circumstances of your parting is common for most divorcees. Posts inspired by feelings of sadness or anger or vindictiveness, especially if you’re freshly broken up, usually don’t spell good news. Resist posts that might fuel any volatile feelings between you and your ex, should news of your posts get back to them. (Remember those screenshots!)
- Protect your privacy. Though privacy isn’t a guarantee, using your social media sites’ privacy options is still a great foundation to filtering out who can see your posts and who can’t.
As we’ve said, venting on social media isn’t the best way to find support. Your divorce lawyer, however, can make a significant difference in the outcome of your situation. If you’re beginning a divorce in Mississippi, contact Andrew Sorrentino to talk about your case.