Using social media during a divorce can seem like an outlet in a difficult time. You can use it to redefine who you are with your spouse out of the picture. But social media can be fatal to your case if you’re not careful.
Recent studies show that social media causes many marriages to break down. It causes trust issues between spouses. It can also be used against your during a divorce.
This article explains five basic things to be aware of when using social media during a divorce.
1. Posts on Social Media During a Divorce Can Be Used Against You
When your marriage is ending, it’s easy to understand that you want to craft a new personality. You’re on your own for the first time in years. You need to redefine who you are to other people. But posts on social media during a divorce can become evidence against you in your case.
Be careful about posting your whereabouts. Many social media platforms track your location when you post. This can only happen if you gave the app permission to do so. You should revoke location-tracking permissions from these sites. This will stop these sites from recording your location when you make a post.
Don’t post about a new relationship on social media during a divorce. It can negatively affect your case. We recommend clients wait until the divorce is final to begin new relationships. This is to prevent the other spouse from claiming fault grounds based on adultery. A new relationship before the final divorce hearing is still considered adultery. The thinking here is that you are still married until you have your divorce decree in your hand. Posting about a new relationship is giving your spouse evidence.
2. Be Aware of Your Privacy Settings
This is good advice in general, but especially for social media during a divorce case. Social media is so ingrained into people’s lives today. People sometimes forget that the posts they write or “like” are linked to their name. It helps others form a general opinion about that person.
You should lock up your social media during a divorce case as much as possible. This is to prevent unwanted attention from other people. You can learn how to set your Facebook settings to private here.
Locking a Twitter account prevents people who don’t follow your account from reading your tweets. You can learn how to lock your Twitter account here.
Have you have ever shared a computer with your spouse? If so, you should change your password for all social media accounts. You should also do this for your e-mail address. It’s a good practice to use new passwords for every site. Good passwords include the following:
- Upper- and lowercase letters
- Numbers 0 – 9
- Special Characters
- At least 12 characters, randomized
It’s difficult to remember many different passwords like this. You may consider using a password manager. Most smartphones have built-in password managers. There are others, like Dashlane and LastPass that install into your browser. These password managers require you to only remember one key password. Dashlane and LastPass also can create secure passwords for you.
Be aware of what e-mails and phone numbers are associated with your social media accounts. A simple search by phone number or e-mail will reveal your alternative accounts. It’s wise to use a separate “holding account” for all social media accounts.
3. Don’t Delete Any Posts on Social Media During a Divorce!
Your first instinct during a pending divorce is to scrub your social media accounts. You don’t want painful reminders of happier days. Or, you don’t want your spouse to find any private messages or DMs between you and someone else.
Social media posts are subject to discovery during a divorce. This means that if your spouse requests your entire social media history, you must provide it.
Deleting social media posts during a divorce may be considered destroying evidence. Deleting posts doesn’t necessarily delete them from Facebook or Twitter’s servers.
If you’ve deleted posts, you may have to pay the cost of recovering those posts. This includes attorney’s fees and storage costs.
Deleting evidence will affect your reputation with the judge, too. Deleting—or destroying—evidence can be used against you in court.
You may want to deactivate your accounts for the length of the divorce. This may be a good idea. But, a word of caution: Deactivated Twitter accounts may be deleted after 30 days. Keep this in mind, as you may bare the ultimate cost of retrieving old Tweets.
4. Be Aware of Who Your Friends and Followers Are
During your marriage, you and your spouse may have had mutual friends. You may have accepted a friend request from one of their friends out of marital obligation.
Be careful: some friends on social media may be reporting back to your spouse.
Spend time going through your lists of friends and followers. Unfriend or block accounts of people you believe may be sending information back to your spouse. Divorce litigation is not a time to worry about what your spouses’ friends will think of you. Don’t overthink blocking them on Facebook or Twitter. This is about self-preservation and putting your interests first.
But also be aware of who might be a good source for information, too. Know which friends you can rely on to feed you information about your spouse if they’re disparaging you.
But don’t direct your friend to interact with your spouse, or harass your spouse. That will end poorly for everybody.
5. Think Before You Post on Social Media During a Divorce
Posting on social media is a gut-reaction to daily events. It’s a way to release stress. It’s an open forum to gripe about daily struggles. But during a divorce case, it is especially important to think twice before you post something
Be careful not to post anything that would look like bad-mouthing the other parent. Your spouse can then take that post and use it in court against you.
Don’t post about your divorce case. Period. Judges don’t like it when parties call their decisions unfair – even if you think they are. If you choose to trash a judge in your case on social media, you may find yourself in contempt of court.
If you have children, be careful about posting about parenthood. Everyone knows that parenthood has its struggles. But social media posts during a divorce case are especially valuable for child custody arguments. Show that you are up to the task of parenting.
You can use social media to show that you are a good person, or a good parent. Or you can choose to not use it at all during your divorce. We recommend the latter. This is because you won’t be creating new posts that may be subject to misinterpretation.
The Maron Law Group LLC is a marital litigation firm in Charleston, South Carolina. Call us at (843) 998-0644 or send us a message to schedule a free consultation.