It is no secret that social media can negatively impact a relationship. Although social media has only been part of our daily lives for a short time, studies show that as many as 1 in 5 divorces involve Facebook.
How does online activity lead to something as life-changing as a divorce? And once the divorce is in process, how can social media change proceedings?
How Social Media Can Cause Divorce
Heavy use of social media has been linked to low self esteem. If a partner feels inadequate in their marriage, they may seek validation online. This further alienates their spouse, leading to more friction in the marriage. When this behavior continues, divorce becomes more and more likely.
In some cases, social media causes more than friction. Social media is commonly used in cases of infidelity. When spouses use social media to cheat, divorce becomes almost inevitable.
How Social Media Can Impact Your Divorce Proceedings
Whether or not social media factored into the cause of the divorce, it can impact the proceedings.
Social media posts are admissible evidence in court and your posts can seriously hurt your case. Messages or posts that prove infidelity will definitely have a negative impact on your case and some states will not allow a cheating spouse to collect alimony.
Other ways social media can hurt your case during a divorce:
- Posting about large purchases, vacations, or expensive gifts can be used against you if you claim financial hardship. This can cause you to be denied alimony or child support.
- Posts involving your children can be used to prove that you are an unfit parent or that you are putting the children in danger. (Of course, this only applies if you are posting yourself drinking or doing drugs around your children or otherwise putting them at risk.) Any posts that can be seen as putting your children in danger can cause you to be granted a less than favorable custody agreement or lose custody altogether.
- Social media posts can, and often are, taken out of context. What may seem innocent in context can quickly paint you in a bad light.
Keeping Social Media Out of Divorce Proceedings
Of course, the easiest way to avoid being penalized by your social media activity is deleting your account(s) until your divorce is finalized. But most people aren’t willing to give up social media, even if only temporarily. If you don’t want to completely leave social media, here are a few ways to prevent your online activity from hurting you:
- Don’t vent about your former spouse or the proceedings on social media. It’s tempting to let your stress out online, but remember that you’re posting publicly (yes, even if your security settings are tight.)
- Speaking of security, never rely on your account being 100% secure. People that you allow to see your posts may not be as trustworthy as you think and can share your posts with someone you may not want to see them.
- Limit the amount of time you spend on social media. Spending large amounts of time on social can be a red flag in and of itself. It can be used to bolster claims that you have cheated, are cheating, or are neglectful.
The bottom line: what you post on social media can be considered public and permanent. Even if you delete a post, someone may have taken a screenshot and shared it. And as we’ve discussed, you can’t trust privacy settings to protect you 100% of the time.
Contact an Experienced Raleigh Divorce Attorney For Guidance
If you are concerned about social media during your divorce, an experienced divorce attorney can guide you through the process and make sure your needs are met. Call our office at (919) 263-5629 to schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys.
Protecting your Privacy ~ Your privacy is our primary concern. At the Doyle Law Group, we understand the importance of protecting your privacy and will never share your contact information with a 3rd party. Contacting our law firm does not imply any form of attorney-client relationship.