Posted on 10/11/2018 at 08:25 AM by Mary Zambreno
Social media has not only changed the way that people across this vast planet are interacting with one another, but it is also changing the way that people interact with one another in their own homes. One study found that there was a direct correlation between social media usage and marriage quality. According to the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, over 80% of divorce attorneys have reported a rise in the number of divorce cases linked to Facebook. This study suggests, in other words, that people are getting divorced literally because of Facebook.
While the figure itself as researched by the AAML is likely true, it is probably an exaggeration to say that people are getting divorced because of Facebook. More likely, it is that social media exacerbates the problems that already exist in failing marriages.
And probably what comes as no surprise to anyone, social media also has a tendency to exacerbate issues once those spouses have begun the divorce litigation process. One article talked about a man who posted on a dating site that he was single and had no children, which was not true. That man supposedly walked away with limited visitation and no overnights with his children, who he had denied online.
Like it or not, divorce attorneys freely use Facebook and Instagram posts as evidence to make their clients’ arguments at trial. If you recently “liked” a friend’s post complaining about having to share custody with her ex-husband, your soon-to-be-ex-spouse’s attorney could use that seemingly innocuous “like” to argue to your judge that you won’t be a good co-parent.
With that being said, here are some ways to navigate social media while you are in the middle of a divorce:
Be careful about what you share on your status updates.
“Checking in” at a popular downtown bar on Facebook at 3 in the morning? If you are in the middle of a heated custody fight, you probably shouldn’t, lest you want to hear your ex tell your judge that you are irresponsible and a drunk. Complaining about what an awful person your soon-to-be-ex is? Only if you want to be portrayed as someone who won’t facilitate that ex’s relationship with his or her children.
Be careful about the photos that you post online.
Taking a trip to somewhere exotic but you’re about to argue that you don’t have money to pay alimony to your spouse? Better re-think that photograph.
Better yet, just shut down social media altogether.
Although there are ways to post so that only specific people can see, one never knows who will hear what you say online. Your friends may have friends who have friends who are friends with your soon-to-be-ex-spouse. And now he or she knows that when you were supposed to have visitation with your children, you were instead at a fancy restaurant with your new mistress. You can bet that information will come out at trial.
If you are in the middle of a divorce and you still insist on using social media, it’s safe to assume that everything you post on the internet will somehow be spun and used against you. Perhaps you can wait another few months until the divorce is over.