Mar 4, 2021
Divorce and Social Media: Managing What You Publish
Christine Lombardo-Zaun Esq., Attorney-Mediator at Alpha Center for Divorce Mediation discusses.
Social Media and Divorce: a Toxic Mix
Most sensible and reasonable adults know that divorce and social media do not go well together. For some of you, this might be the first time you are reading this, but for others, this information might seem all too familiar. I am going to summarize some of the key things you need to know when you are going through a divorce with regard to social media. Even if you read this before, a reminder can never hurt.
Anything you post online can be used against you in a court proceeding. Over the last ten years I have seen more and more clients coming to me with text messages or Facebook posts in which their ex is posting things that are extremely incriminating. These posts can be very hurtful for both parties. Make sure your family and friends know not to post anything without your permission. Be extremely careful when and if you go out with friends and make sure there are no hidden surprise photos popping up on social media. Even Snapchats can be captured and preserved. One blogger wrote, “remember we are all reality tv stars today”. (Boyd Law Office, Orange County). It is true – when we put ourselves out there – you never know what is going to show up.
Don’t Use Social Media to Make your Case
Be careful what you post. It does not matter if you have not filed for divorce yet. If you are considering a divorce, you should probably keep your posts on any social media site to a minimum. The rule of thumb is that if you do not want to see your post on the front page of the New York Times, then you probably should not post it.
If you are in the process of a divorce, resist wanting to show your soon-to-be ex that you are better off without them. Posting photos of you out there living it up or buying new things is probably not a good idea considering it could come back to haunt you in a court proceeding.
Develop Healthy Caution
A word about passwords – change them NOW People change when they are served with divorce papers, a defensive mode can make them do strange things. I had a client whose the husband hacked into her email, and then texted threats to her. Since the husband put all of this in writing, it was easy to prove her concerns to the court.
I’m not suggesting you become paranoid, do become vigilant. Trust sparingly and use this time to focus on healing and recovery versus trying to prove yourself to the outside world.
Don’t Post it, Don’t Say It
Resist badmouthing your spouse. Yes, I know you are angry and hurt. I am sure some of you have every right to be. However, it has no place and serves no purpose by badmouthing your spouse on social media, or anywhere for that matter. I have lived through a divorce, and so I know this is much easier said than done. However, in some cases, badmouthing can be construed as harassment and this could lead to criminal charges and fines.
One Last Tip – Stay Away
Resist in-person meetings. Similar to harassment is stalking. You’re getting a divorce – that means you must leave the other person alone. Period. Again, this is much easier said than done. I have some clients who had long-term marriages and so when the physical separation occurred, some of them struggled with not seeing their spouse. This was very common with spouses who did not want the divorce. Regardless of your status or relationship with your spouse, it is best to leave them alone. Give yourself and your spouse space to start forming your new normal.
I hope some of these tips are helpful. None are new to the world of family attorneys. The smarter you are about social media, the easier your divorce will be. I can tell you from experience, take all the help you can get to make the process easier. It will benefit you in the long run.
Christine Lombardo-Zaun is and attorney-mediator at the Alpha center for Divorce Mediation. Click here for Christine’s profile.
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