There have been many studies conducted in recent years discussing the negative impact of social media on relationships and marriages.
The negative impact is even greater on relationships and divorces. Lawyers have seen an increase in the number of cases using social networking evidence in divorce actions.
Social media and social networking can be a great tool for communicating about yourself, your life, your activities and thoughts with other individuals.
However, it is worth considering that everything you post on social media can and will be used against you when you are getting divorced.
You have no privacy or secrecy with social media. While someone may not be your “friend” on Facebook or have access to your Instagram account, your friends may share with their friends and family, and eventually it will get to your spouse or their lawyer. Also, privacy options in social media are difficult to use. They are also subject to change. Even persons who think they are ‘tech-savvy’ should proceed with extreme caution. You should assume that more people can view your posts than you expect and that those posts may appear on the pages of other individuals, as well.
Also, what has been downloaded onto your computer hard drive, and viewed by you online, or posted by you and then deleted, can all be discovered by your spouse or their attorney. It is common in a divorce case for one side to request their tech expert to take possession of your phone, computer, IPad or similar device and make a copy of your hard drive or memory chip. Then they will search, locate and identify all of your internet searches and social media posts. All of that information can be used against you in your divorce. In addition, postings about you by your friends and family can and will be used against you in your divorce case.
If you are contemplating divorce, please consider taking down your Facebook page, and avoid using any social media.
If you are not able to stop your social media activity, it is important that you censor your activity. Do not post anything that you would not want to come up in court. For example, do not post information or photographs of your date with another person or you drinking alcohol or behaving in a way that a Judge would find offensive or reflect badly on your parenting.
Contact your family and close personal friends that you can trust and explain that you have stopped or reduced your social media presence and posting. Ask your friends to not post embarrassing comments or photos of you online or to make negative comments about your spouse. If you have done this in the past, remember, complaints about your spouse should not be shared on social media sites.
Once a divorce is underway, you should expect a high level of scrutiny by your spouse and his/her attorney. During this process, your social media activity will be investigated. As such, you should be mindful that anything you have posted in the past, or post during the divorce proceeding, will be discoverable by your spouse and his/her attorney.
If you are getting divorced using the collaborative law process, then social media activity may be less of an issue, because no one is presenting evidence to a Judge. However, hurt feelings and strong negative emotions resulting from your social media activity may make it more difficult to resolve your collaborative divorce.