Everyone uses social media. Well, maybe not everyone, but according to Statista, “In the most recently measured period [2017-2018], 77 percent of U.S. Americans had a social media profile.” Social media is often used to stay in touch with long-distance friends and relatives, share photos, find interesting information, and plenty of other very innocent things.
Unfortunately, using social media during a divorce can have disastrous effects on your case.
Even Innocent Posts Can Be Used As Evidence Against You
You may have a high level of emotional intelligence. You may know better than to post your feelings of anger, frustration, bitterness, and outright disdain for your ex on social media during a divorce, but even the most innocent of photos or comments can be taken out of context and used as evidence against you. Did you go out for one drink after work with a coworker to unwind? A photo, status, or check-in by you, your coworker, or even a stranger could end up being brought to a judge as evidence that you drink too much, or even that you were having an affair. Nothing posted on social media during a divorce can ever truly be deleted, so it’s always better not to post at all.
Using social media during a divorce can end up causing more problems. Finding a caring, highly qualified legal professional to tell you the dos and don’ts during a divorce can make all the difference. Contact The The Law Offices of Charlotte Christian and Associates today to schedule a consultation.
The two main areas that are most commonly targeted by divorce attorneys seeking to use social media during a divorce to discredit you are finances and child custody.
Whether you are seeking alimony and/or child support, or hoping not to pay one or both of those things, using social media during a divorce can paint a picture that you have more money than your claim and therefore hurt your case. Even if you had been saving up, or someone else paid the bill, looks can be deceiving and you don’t want to risk something being misconstrued. By the way, never post something that is contradictory to what you are claiming in court. Whether it’s job status, finances, free time, who you are spending time with, or even bad habits – if you say one thing in court and it turns up differently on social media, it could be damaging to your case.
Similar to your finances, your child custody case could be harmed by what you post on social media during a divorce. Judges have to determine what is in the best interest of the child emotionally and physically. Photos, posts, and even just the amount of time spent on social media during a divorce could be used as evidence to deem you as an unfit parent.
It prevents you from getting actual support
If you spend more of your time on social media during a divorce than you do talking to friends and family in person, or on the phone, you are likely not receiving the emotional support you need to get through this challenging time. Rather than airing your feelings on social media, connect with people who love and support you in person as often as possible. Feelings of loneliness, sadness, isolation and even depression can creep into your thoughts during a divorce and it’s important to keep those personal connections strong. Another option we highly recommend is talking with a counselor or therapist to process everything you are experiencing and feeling as your divorce progresses.
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What If I Have Already Posted Something I Shouldn’t Have?
If you are already beginning the steps toward divorce and you have already posted unfavorable things on social media, there are three important things to do:
Do NOT delete anything. This can be seen as tampering with evidence.
Do NOT post anything additional. Your best bet is to stop posting on social media during a divorce entirely.
Watch What Others Post About You
Staying off social media doesn’t end with watching what you post. You should also be careful about what others post about you. It is common practice for people to post pictures and videos of other people. While such acts may be innocent, some posts can be inappropriate or “paint” the wrong picture.
Assuming you attend a party where people are openly drinking and smoking marijuana or other drugs, and a friend takes a group photo with you in it and tags you on Instagram or Facebook, such a post can be used against you. Remember, child custody battles consider all factors, including a parent’s sobriety. Your EX can use such a post to portray you as an irresponsible parent who isn’t supposed to have physical custody of young children.
Posts can also affect settlement negotiations. Assuming you are tagged in an inappropriate picture that triggers your EX to resent you, he/she may make your divorce case more difficult than it should. If you are tagged having fun in the midst of a divorce proceeding, your EX may get upset and choose a trial over an easy settlement. In a nutshell, inappropriate posts are likely to impact your divorce process negatively, whether it is complicating a settlement or providing discriminating information that makes you lose custody.
Luckily, there are ways to avoid being tagged. What’s more, you can purpose to be out of any social media posts. This can be as easy as requesting your friends not to tag you or simply walking out when someone starts taking videos or photos that are potentially incriminating.
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Don’t Post Divorce-Related Information on Social Media
The same way it’s advisable to keep off matters that haven’t been concluded in a court is the same way you should avoid posting anything related to your divorce online. This includes something as small as taking a picture in court and including a caption that you had a good day. While such posts can be silly, they can ruin a settlement negotiation leading to trial.
Let’s not even discuss the cons of getting into details about your case. You can easily say something incriminating. An innocent post can be used to portray you as a bully, which doesn’t look good in settlements where co-parenting is an issue. Generally, parents aren’t supposed to talk negatively about each other to their kids. If you make your partner appear bad on social media, it may be obvious that you would do so to your kids in private. Such scenarios won’t look good in custody cases.
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Are There Any Key Benefits of Social Media During a Divorce?
Yes. There may be notable benefits of staying on social media during a divorce process. The main benefits include;
Divorce is challenging. The psychological effects of a divorce can have detrimental effects. Social media can give you a much-needed break shifting your focus to other things to avoid thinking about what your marriage could have been, your mistakes, and other negative thoughts.
If visiting social media profiles of people you love makes you feel better, social media is a welcome distraction. However, you should stay off social media if it hurts your mood. Alternatively, you can craft your social media experience to make it a fully positive process. This may include unfollowing your EX and getting rid of posts that make you sad. You can also focus on uplifting videos and personas.
Social media is a good thing during and after divorce if it helps you find a new loving partner. It’s also possible to meet people on social media who later become great friends. The positive distraction can also help you get rid of any feeling you may have had for your EX, paving the way for new experiences. Life goes on after a divorce. Social media may be what makes moving on possible for you.
Social media is good and bad during a divorce. Understanding the potential negative impact on your case is critical. An experienced Alabama divorce attorney can be able to caution you on what you should/shouldn’t do on social media. Your decision to stay off or on should be guided by expert legal advice and your own assessment.
Hire An Experienced Family Law Attorney Who Specializes In Divorce
The The Law Offices of Charlotte Christian and Associates serves the northern Alabama/Huntsville area. We specialize in alimony, child support and custody, military and high asset divorce. Don’t take your chances in court alone, hire The The Law Offices of Charlotte Christian and Associates to fight for you.