Social media has become a regular, everyday part of life. We give updates about our families on Facebook, provide running Twitter commentary on the kids’ sporting events, and share photos of romantic getaways on Instagram. Among other avenues.
Because social media has such an impact on our lives, it makes sense that it plays a role in our marriages. And often times that also means it affects our relationships and even contributes to divorce.
Social Media’s Impact On Relationships
According to one academic study, “Facebook-related conflict” has become a common source of marital strife. And as social media continues to expand and evolve, this influence only grows. People continue to cite various new platforms in their divorce filings.
What you post online for the world to see not only influences your relationships but how your divorce plays out. It affects not only relationships but also potentially shakes up settlements and even custody.
1. Be Careful What You Post Online
As social media is so intertwined with daily life, people become careless about what they post. Many don’t take the time to consider the ramifications of what they share in public.
Whatever you want to release into the world, take a moment to consider how it will impact your relationship. More than a few people have been caught cheating or engaging in otherwise damaging behavior via social media.
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2. Don’t Only Interact Online
Too often in our modern world, people get lost in their online worlds and personas. This digital life can cause a great deal of undue strain on a relationship.
Excessive social media use is increasingly cited as a factor in breakups. Sustaining a relationship takes face-to-face interaction and a break from the online world may do you some good.
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3. Don’t Say Anything Online You Wouldn’t In Person
Just as it’s easy to get lost online, it’s easy to hide behind a manufactured persona. Social media allows users a certain distance and anonymity. This often leads people to post things that may not align with their real-world personality.
Consider the impact and repercussions of what you share. People may say hurtful words they wouldn’t otherwise, reveal information that can be misconstrued, or disclose things they don’t intend.
If what you’re about to post may cause friction in your relationship, think twice before going down that path.
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Social Media’s Impact On Divorce
In addition to having a detrimental effect on your marriage and relationship, social media blunders often have a similar impact on divorce proceedings.
Posts on Facebook, Twitter, and the rest are increasingly subpoenaed by the court and used in divorce.
What you choose to share can have wide-reaching and long-lasting consequences. Again, be careful what you post. And know your spouse and her attorneys are paying attention, looking for evidence to use against you.
1. Social Media And Divorce Settlements
Though income isn’t usually overtly posted on social media, many people flaunt their wealth in oblique ways. This can come back to bite you in a divorce settlement.
If you claim you can’t pay child support or that spousal maintenance is too high, yet you post photos of a lavish vacation, that reflects poorly on your case. The same goes for if you claim to be unemployed but talk about work.
Just watch the news on any given night and it’s not uncommon to see stories about people who thought they could hide assets or even businesses in divorce, yet slip up when it comes to social media.
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2. Social Media And Child Custody
Social media offers a glimpse into your life, which can have an impact on child custody.
A judge may negatively react to photos of you binge drinking when you’re supposed to be watching your child. The same goes for taking the kids on potentially dangerous excursions or otherwise putting them in harm’s way. Planning to visit the zoo, but taking the kids skydiving without telling their mother, probably won’t be well received. If your ex is job hunting, but posts about playing video games all day, that can impact custody and support payments.
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3. Legal Issues With Social Media
It’s often a good idea to stay away from your ex during divorce in real life. It’s also a good idea to keep a similar distance online.
Stalking and harassment via social media are big issues. If you know their passwords and tamper with your ex’s accounts, that doesn’t reflect well on you. Also, seeing what your ex is up can be frustrating, lead to anger, and cloud your judgment.
If you think there are hidden assets or other potential evidence for your case to be found, it’s best to have someone else, ideally an attorney, take a look so you can have some space.
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How To Prevent Social Media Fallout
The easiest, most surefire way to prevent social media fallout in your divorce is to stay away completely. Simple.
- If you don’t post anything, nothing can come back to haunt you.
- Keep a buffer between you and your soon-to-be-ex.
- Even if you think something is innocuous and totally harmless, ask yourself if it’s worth the risk.
- You don’t want to provide additional ammunition to the opposition, especially when it can be avoided.
If you absolutely must maintain your social media presence during a divorce, give it serious thought.
- Think about what you post.
- Consider what it reveals and how it may impact child custody, your settlement, and more.
- Again, if you have to interact with your spouse, be civil.
A good bar is to consider if you want a post to show up in front of a judge. If not, it’s probably best to let it be until after the divorce is final or let it go entirely.
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