Social media is now an integral part of most people’s everyday lives. It’s become a normal part of our culture to share daily updates, photographs, videos, and simply tell others what you’re thinking and feeling. However, if you’re currently embroiled in a heated divorce, you should take a moment to think twice about the things you post on social media—or refrain from social media usage altogether. Here’s how your social media activity can impact your divorce, and why you should dial down your usage during the proceedings.
It’s Not Completely Private
Those who are familiar with social media know that there are certain platforms—like Twitter and Instagram—that are designed to be public. However, you might consider a private Facebook account that is only viewed by friends and family to be a safe place to post anything you’re thinking or feeling, even during a divorce. After all, if you’re not connected to your ex anymore, what’s the harm?
But the things you post on social media are very rarely private, despite what your privacy settings may be. Odds are, you and your ex still share some of the same online connections. You may have mutual friends, or even be connected with their family members. After all, you shouldn’t have to cut all mutual ties simply because you and your ex are no longer together.
However, this does mean that it is extremely likely that your posts can find their way back to your ex. And, if you happen to post something that can be used against you in the divorce (more on that in a moment), you may find it unexpectedly thrown back in your face during the hearings.
First, allow us to say that you should never, ever try to hide assets during a divorce. This almost never works out well for the individual concealing the assets—especially if you’re posting about those assets on social media. In a 1999 California divorce case, a woman failed to disclose lottery winning she’d received when completing financial disclosure documents. Later, she made a thoughtless social media post, talking about how she was spending her winnings. The post was shown to the judge, and he awarded all of her lottery winnings to her ex-husband.
Though the woman in this case had committed fraud, it also demonstrates how even a casual post about something you purchased can impact the financial issues handled in a divorce case. Even if you’ve been completely honest about your assets, if you are frequently posting about wild spending habits, this may still impact financial matters in your divorce.
Your social media activity can also impact the outcome of child custody hearings during your divorce. The divorce court’s primary goal is always to make a decision that is best for the child’s welfare; this means that, during the divorce, you need to show that you are a responsible, caring, and attentive parent. If you are frequently posting on social media about the wild parties you’re attending, frequently becoming intoxicated, abusing drugs, or engaging in any other irresponsible behavior, the court may decide that you are an unfit parent, and award primary custody to your ex.
Additionally, you should not be using your social media as a platform to make disparaging or slanderous remarks against your ex. Most courts will favor parents who can show that they are respectful towards and willing to work with their ex in matters of child custody. So, if it is found that you are frequently speaking negatively about your ex on social media, you may find these posts being brought to light during the divorce proceedings. A willingness to post these kinds of remarks publicly is largely seen as an indicator that you would be willing to tear down your ex in front of your children as well, which creates a toxic environment for your children; this is not an environment a judge will often choose to place a child in.
Social Media during Your Divorce
While social media may be a central part of your life, it is largely better to refrain from posting on social media during your divorce proceedings. This prevents any seemingly innocent posts from creating complications for you in court, and allows you to focus on handling the divorce proceedings without distractions. If you do choose to use social media, we encourage you to always think through every post before you share it, and consider possible ramifications of what you’re about to make public.
If you have any questions regarding how your social media usage may impact your divorce, or if you’re in need of an experienced divorce attorney, please reach out to us for a consultation today.