In today’s digital world, we are rarely more than a few feet from our cell phones. For many people, social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram offer the chance to share their lives with friends and acquaintances. Critics of social media claim that many individuals use such sites to create an idealized version of themselves for public consumption—downplaying daily struggles and only highlighting positive achievements or “perfect” photos.
Social media can also create issues during a divorce. Some of these issues could affect the legal proceedings directly while others have the power to slow the healing process and prevent you from moving on. If you are considering a divorce or the process has already started, it is important to avoid:
Sharing Too Much, Too Soon
A person’s “relationship status” has been a feature of Facebook profiles since the site was launched 14 years ago. You may be tempted to change your status within hours after making the decision to divorce. Doing so, however, is not usually the best choice. It is possible for you and your spouse to reconcile and change your minds. It is also likely that your friends may see the change, prompting uncomfortable and unnecessary conversations early in the process.
Airing Your Dirty Laundry
As your divorce moves along, you may become even more frustrated with your soon-to-be ex-spouse, and you may want the world to know it. Be cautious, because oversharing on social media can be dangerous. Things that you say or post in anger could be saved and used against you during the divorce proceedings. Bashing your partner can also make your mutual friends and family members feel like they need to choose sides. Finally, everyone on your social media friends list does not need to know that your spouse was cheating on you or that you are fighting for primary custody of your children.
Living Out Loud
Angry and insulting posts are not the only ones that can be used as evidence later in your divorce proceedings. Things that you post about yourself could be equally problematic, especially due to the lack of context on social media. Did you recently go on a “retail therapy” shopping trip? There is nothing wrong with helping yourself to feel better, but a photo of piles of new purchases could be damaging, for example, if you have asked for spousal support in your divorce. Similarly, lots of pictures of you enjoying being newly single could be taken out of context and spun to suggest that you are not responsible enough to be given significant responsibilities regarding your children.
Spying on or Blocking Your Spouse
As with many areas of life, moderation is the key to your social media relationship with your former partner. For the sake of your own health, avoid becoming fixated on your spouse’s account. It does not really matter whom they have become friends with or what they are doing next weekend. If you have their account information, do not sign in as them under any circumstances. Illegally using another person’s username and password could have legal implications as well.
On the other end of the spectrum, completely blocking your soon-to-be ex-spouse may not be the best idea either, especially if you have children together. If your relationship with that person is truly toxic, blocking him or her might be the right choice, at least for a little while, but co-parents need to have open lines of communication.
We Can Help
There are ways in which social media can be very useful for a divorcing individual and ways in which it can be harmful. An experienced Wheaton family law attorney can help you develop a social media strategy that provides you with an emotional outlet while maintaining healthy boundaries. Call 630-871-1002 for a free consultation at Andrew Cores Family Law Group today.