Almost everyone either has a social media account or has family members who have accounts. There are many different accounts including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Snapchat, and others. Some accounts you may use often. Other accounts your children may use. Most spouses and family members use social media to post family pictures and to discuss family events, celebrations, and current family events. For many reasons, you should consider NOT using your social media accounts or being very careful about you what post – during your divorce.
Social Media Causes Divorce
It’s also well known that social media causes divorce. Your spouse likely has access to your accounts. If you post anything negative about your spouse or post spending romantic time with someone else, those posts could be used as social media divorce evidence.
Posts can affect your property division, custody, spousal support, and child support claims in many different ways. The posts can affect your credibility. Posts may antagonize your spouse. Your children may be upset if they feel they are being singled out or used. For this reason, it is important to choose a high-quality divorce attorney who knows about social media and divorce.
Social media and divorce posts, according to Divorce Magazine, create numerous problems. For starters, you cannot assume that anything you post is confidential. There is a good chance your spouse will see your posts. If there is anything negative that they can use to help their case and hurt yours, they will. Your spouse will likely be able to subpoena your social media posts or ask that you provide them to your spouse’s lawyer as part of the discovery process.
For example, if you post a photo of yourself with a new car, it will be hard to say that you’re suffering financially. If you post a photo of yourself with a new partner, your spouse may be personally upset. Your spouse may also try to argue your new partner should pay some of your expenses or that your new partner isn’t a good role model for your children.
Recommendations for when and how to use social media during a divorce proceeding
Divorce magazine offers the following suggestions regarding social media and divorce:
- Don’t write anything you wouldn’t be comfortable hearing read out loud in a courtroom. Don’t post any pictures you wouldn’t want the judge to see. Social media and divorce can be very dangerous when used against you in a court of law.
- Take your time to respond. If you see anything your spouse or other relatives post, wait at least 24 hours before posting a reply. If the post/communication is something that might in any way affect your divorce cases – the best tip is – Don’t respond on social media. If you do need to respond because social media is how you and your spouse communicate, be polite. Don’t let your anger show. Don’t post anything negative.
- Do not talk about social media and divorce together. Never. Do not discuss any court filings, anything that happens or might happen in court or before a mediator, or anything that has anything to do with the core divorce issues. The core issues include equitable distribution, child custody, spousal support, and child support. Posts can do more than hurt your court case. It is generally best if you and your spouse are amicable enough that you can resolve your differences through negotiation rather than litigation. You don’t want your spouse reading or seeing anything that might create conflict.
- Do not boast about how well you’re doing. Anything that looks like you spent money will likely be questioned by your spouse’s lawyer. You’re claiming spousal support, yet you just bought a new sofa. Seems like you’re doing well financially, right? – your spouse’s lawyer will ask. This is one of the most damaging aspects of social media and divorce.
- “Disengage from extended family members (in-laws) on social media.” Your parents-in-law and siblings-in-law are going to be loyal to your spouse, and not you. You can be sure your spouse and his/her lawyer will be made aware of any online conversations you have with your spouse’s closest relatives – that might help your spouse’s divorce case.
It’s also important not to be too nice. While you want to stay off social media, you should understand that you can use anything your spouse posts online. If your spouse is silly enough to boast that he was able to hide assets from you, then that social media and divorce boast helps you move to find out what those hidden assets are.
A few other social media and divorce considerations spouses should consider during a New Jersey divorce include:
- Wait until the divorce proceedings are final before discussing any aspect of the divorce online.
- Understand that your children will likely see anything you post online. Most children are more computer savvy than their parents. Divorce is hard enough for children without having them learn about your divorce through a post instead of from you directly.
- Do not discuss your emotions online. Even when emotional posts aren’t used against you in court (and they might be), these posts can upset family and friends. This is one of the major reasons why social media and divorce are a bad recipe. You want the people close in your life to understand your pain through caring conversations – not online complaints.
At DeTorres & DeGeorge Family Law, our family lawyers are seasoned divorce lawyers. We answer all your questions about social media and divorce. We guide you through the litigation process. We also provide many practical tips such as social media and divorce tips, to help you calmly and clearly resolve your divorce so you can move forward into the next phase of your life. To discuss your divorce, call us at 908-691-2104 or fill out our contact form to schedule an appointment. We represent spouses in Clinton and Morristown.