No matter how you slice it, divorce is never a good thing. Along with the stresses of separation and the untangling of two lives that have become intertwined, comes the inevitable awkwardness of learning how to navigate social waters as a single person again. During these stress-filled times, you may feel the urge to decompress and let the world know how you are feeling on your favorite social platform. But if your divorce is not over, do not make that post or tweet just yet; using social media during divorce can be a costly affair. In today’s blog, we will look at some online do’s and don’ts for couples getting a divorce.
Emotions flare during times of stress, and there are few experiences more stressful than getting a divorce. Alongside sorrow and depression, you may feel bouts of anger and thoughts of revenge, depending on your situation. Sometimes a soon-to-be ex-husband or wife may feel the urge to unleash that anger over social media channels, like Facebook or Twitter. If you find yourself in this situation, take a deep breath and step away from the keyboard; indulging in this desire can affect the outcome of your divorce proceedings in more ways than you can imagine.
In fact, avoiding social media while you are getting a divorce is probably the best idea. It can be too tempting to rant and rave about your situation and in the process of doing so, you might inadvertently give your spouse the upper hand in court. Even something as simple as a harmless selfie could result in you paying more in the settlement.
Having said that, we know the draw of social media and the comfort we find in our online personas. If you cannot bring yourself to take a leave of absence from the virtual world, consider adhering to the following advice when using social media during divorce.
People love to talk, especially on social media. Once your close-knit circle of “friends” and family discovers your divorce, their curiosity will naturally be piqued. Who is to blame? Who cheated? What dirt can is there? By spilling your every thought on your wall or blog, you feed into this frenzy and provide more fodder for the cannon. Every cryptic tweet is one more thing for people to gossip about and every story you tell is one more thing that will get exaggerated and misconstrued.
As a married couple, you no doubt accumulated friends together. After a divorce, it is not uncommon for some friends to side with one spouse over the other. Posting during emotional times could push away people in your life or make you come across as the “villain” in the relationship. Avoid the added stress and drama and save the rants and raves for your paper diary.
If you are going to post, you should think very carefully before you post anything at all; even a simple status update. For example, maybe you decided to go out on the town with some friends to drink your troubles away. Take a selfie in a photo drinking alcohol too often and your ex might provide it as “proof” of alcoholism. Pose for photos with a member of the opposite sex, and it could lead to claims of infidelity.
You may find yourself wanting to show off how well you are doing now that your spouse is out of your life; posting images of spending sprees or splurges gives the impression of expendable income and could cost you more in alimony payments.
When it comes to using social media during divorce, remember this one rule: when in doubt, don’t post.
As tempting as it may be, never post or share any information regarding your divorce. This includes communications with your divorce attorney or your spouse. Do not use the phrase “according to my attorney” or “my divorce lawyer says.”. In doing so, you may waive attorney-client privilege or incur the ire of the court. Something you want to avoid!
Just as with most cases, character witnesses or people that you have willfully shared information with can be subpoenaed to testify against you in court. Sharing information with your friends – even online – can have a direct bearing on your custody battle or divorce proceedings. Because of this, you should remove anyone you have any doubts about from your friend list or followers.
In addition, always be confident that your privacy settings are up-to-date and that you limit the information you grant access. Anything you post online can – and likely will – be used against you in a legal dispute.
At the end of the day, the best way to get through a divorce is to resolve the process amicably and on the best terms possible. This is especially true if you have children. The American Psychological Association has an excellent article on how to have a healthy divorce. We think most couple can benefit from reading.
If you are considering a divorce or want more advice for using social media during divorce, contact a local divorce attorney. The right divorce lawyer can help you navigate the murky waters divorce and custody proceedings and put you on the path to a healthier life.
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