Social media posts and text messages may only take a few seconds to type out and share, but they can have long-lasting and unforeseen implications in certain divorce and custody cases.
When confronted with the stress associated with a major life event like a divorce, eliminating social media altogether can be the healthiest choice. This is particularly important when children are involved. However, many people choose not to disconnect for many different reasons – social media is often the primary way people keep in touch with friends, family and colleagues. If social media stays in the picture, being aware of how online activity can influence divorce negotiations can be helpful.
A healthy way to go through the separation and divorce process is to be aware of what you publish, who has access to your information and how it could affect your divorce. If you maintain an active social media presence, here are a few considerations to keep in mind:
Be careful of the information you are posting
Seemingly innocent photos or posts can indicate a lot more than you might think. For example, tagging yourself at an expensive restaurant, or sharing holiday plans, may contradict information provided regarding your financial situation. It is also a good idea to refrain from airing any “dirty laundry” from your relationship or about your partner. Information like this may create more issues in the divorce process, including having a negative effect on the children.
Be mindful of the information others are posting
Most social media sites allow users to “tag” others in photos, videos or other posts. Even if you limit your own posts, there may be other information accessible. This may cause undue stress or create new issues with the other party, especially if children are involed. Seeing your child tagged in a photo with a new partner for example may be upsetting to see for the other party.
Know who your “friends” are
Be cautious of who you allow to follow your pages and check your security settings to be sure who can not only view your information but who has the ability to share it with others.
Don’t spend too much time online
This may be much easier said than done, but is important nonetheless. When going through a life-changing event like a divorce, it can be difficult to keep your distance from your spouse. Viewing his/her social media is a way to remain connected. However, spending too much time viewing his/her information can cause unwanted stress.
Regardless of the amount or manner of your social media use, it is important to take stock of your online presence and take precautions to avoid unintended consequences to you and your family during and after the divorce.