Whether you find solace from friends on Facebook, love posting photos of your new adventures on Instagram, or get a rush from tweeting out your despair, social media seems to take the edge off the stress that comes from going through a divorce. But is sharing information a good idea as you navigate through this contentious process?
According to many divorce lawyers, the answer is no. Ending a marriage is never easy, and you’ll definitely need avenues to vent your emotions and get help with your feelings. But social media accounts — no matter how private you think the settings are — are not the way to do it. Here are five reasons why.
Five reasons to be careful with social media and divorce
1. You risk upsetting your spouse.
Maybe you’re sailing ahead toward an amicable divorce settlement. Your social media post, no matter how innocently intended, could be enough to make your ex furious. They may think you’re depicting them as the bad one in the situation or may simply realize how sad they’ll be once the divorce is finalized — and the result could mean a lot more headaches for you. Even inspirational quotes or pictures of pets risk getting your spouse angry enough to be willing to make the divorce proceedings more complicated and vicious.
2. You might make it look like you have excess money.
That lavish vacation you took to unwind from the challenges of ending your marriage? That fancy dinner you treated yourself to, or the new car you bought to celebrate a new chapter of your life? Pictures of any of those could be signs of wealth that you may not want to flaunt during a divorce settlement. Even when you do want your spouse to get what’s rightfully theirs, you don’t want them to get the idea they should be entitled to more. Photos of anything you buy, posted to social media accounts, can make it look like you aren’t giving your husband or wife their fair share and might make their attorneys come after you for more.
3. Your behaviors may be scrutinized, especially if children are involved.
Even an innocent wine bottle in the background of a photo can help your ex portray you as an irresponsible excessive drinker. Even fun activities that you’ve done with the kids can be examined in a different light as you being reckless or not looking out for their well-being.
4. You could be inadvertently making your friends take sides.
If you’re posting unflattering things about an ex on social media, you’re dragging your family members and friends, even the ones that want to stay neutral, into the midst of your divorce. When you ask people to take sides, you risk alienating some — and during tough times, you want to have all the support you can get. You could also upset someone who will then encourage your spouse to battle you even harder in court.
5. You might provide evidence of adultery.
Even if you never cheated on your husband or wife, depicting yourself with someone else before the divorce is final can paint the wrong picture. Attorneys for your spouse can unearth signs of cheating — enough to be suspicious — that will help them get a better outcome for their client.
In fact, according to a 2019 article in the National Law Review, 81% of divorce lawyers say they’ve found evidence on social media that could be presented in court to get a more favorable settlement for their client. What’s more, a full two-thirds — 66% — of divorce cases use Facebook as a source for evidence.
How to Handle Your Social Media Accounts During Divorce
You may have questions about whether you can use social media at all. For people who are used to checking Facebook several times a day, posting fun YouTube videos, or crafting fun images for Instagram, the thought of doing away with social media can be devastating. Here are some of the questions we hear:
Can I Strengthen My Privacy Settings?
Yes, and you should if you won’t be deleting your accounts. However, privacy settings aren’t foolproof. A trusted friend or family member may be willing to share information with your ex. As well, social media account information can be accessed by court order in some cases. It would be best to avoid posting at all, even with your privacy settings locked down tight.
Should I Delete My Social Media Accounts?
If you can hide or pause your accounts, you should. Most social media accounts cannot be truly deleted, but taking them offline can prevent access in many cases.
Can I Make a New Account With a Fake Name?
For the same reason you shouldn’t rely on your privacy settings, don’t expect an account with an alternate name to stay hidden from a former spouse. You may think you’re hiding from your ex, but a good divorce attorney will likely be able to find any new accounts you set up — and the information you share on them.
If you do decide to keep your accounts, you should give your own divorce lawyer access to review them and ensure you don’t have anything that could cause trouble in court. And even if you do use social media to view others’ accounts, refrain from making your posts to ensure you won’t give your ex any ammunition in your divorce case.
Going through a divorce is never easy, and you need a trusted attorney on your side who knows what you should and should not do as you move through the process. Contact us today to speak with a Florida divorce lawyer and start resolving your divorce case with a minimum of stress and hassle.