Whether social media is something relatively new to you or you documented your entire marriage on Facebook and Instagram, navigating your online life after a divorce can be difficult.
For most people, the best course of action during a divorce is to put social media on hold until the proceedings are over. Not only will this prevent a casual post from interfering with your case, but it will also give you time and space to process your feelings before revamping your online presence.
The Internet is Not Real Life
On Facebook profiles and Twitter feeds, people only see what you want them to see. As a result, you might present yourself differently online than you do in court and settlement negotiations. For example, you might testify to the difficulties of your financial situation during your divorce but post a photo of a spa day or vacation on Instagram. Even if the photo you post is old or your vacation was planned and paid for months before your divorce, your post could be taken out of context and used against you by your spouse and their attorneys.
If a post suggests something different than what you claim in a legal setting, you could also get in a lot of trouble and/or lose valuable assets, alimony, or child support. An expensive trip to Paris, for instance, can conflict with a claim that you need additional child support or are entitled to alimony.
Sometimes, hidden assets also reveal themselves on social media, which is another reason you should be especially careful about what you post – or better yet, not post at all.
Friends or Foes
You might think it’s okay to post if you’ve blocked your spouse on social media. This could not be further from the truth. During a divorce, many friends you shared with your spouse while you were married may “choose sides” and lend their support to one spouse or another.
If a mutual friend sees a questionable post, they can screenshot it and forward it to your spouse to be used against you.
On another note, even your most loyal friends can jeopardize your case without knowing it. If you go out to a bar with a close friend and that friend posts a photo of you drinking online, that photo can be used to attack your credibility as a parent during a custody battle. Spending time with your friends is healthy during a divorce, just let them know that your outings should be kept private and offline.
Posts are Public and Permanent
Anytime you post on social media, the words and/or images you share are accessible to everyone and impossible to truly eliminate.
Even if you make a nasty remark about your spouse and delete it right away, someone could have screenshotted the post, and it may still appear in searchable archives.
Whenever you post anything on any website, consider your actions to be public and permanent. Don’t ever say anything online that you would not want to have read aloud in a courtroom.
The same principle goes for text messages and emails, as well. If you don’t want it to be read out of context in front of a judge, don’t write it down.
Having intense emotions and impulses is natural in this time of your life, but it’s important to share these feelings with a trusted friend or family member either in person or over the phone, as opposed to expressing yourself in discoverable electronic communications or posting to social media for the world to see.
Time for Reinvention
We said it once and we’ll say it again: The safest and best possible option during divorce is to avoid social media outright.
Deleting old photos or posts can be seen as deleting evidence during your lawsuit, and you may want to keep some memories of your past online after you’ve had time to come to terms with your divorce.
After all, that part of your life happened, even though it is over now.
Ongoing Advice Throughout Your Case
If changing your social media habits is not something you’d considered before reading this article, imagine the other, more specific legal insights our team at Hembree Bell Law Firm, PLLC can provide you with.
By guiding you through every step of your case during this complex time in your life, our attorneys can help you secure the results you want and triumph in any family law matter you are facing.
Call us at (512) 768-9737 today to set up an informative consultation at our Austin office.