From Twitter to dating apps, social media is a big part of life for a lot of people. If you are planning on a divorce or already in the process of divorcing, it is critical that you think before you press “send.”
For frequent users, social media offers a supportive community, friends, and news of what is happening in the world. During divorce, those benefits can go south fast if you do not carefully filter your content before posting it.
Social media is a primary means of communication for a lot of people. Divorce attorneys in Baltimore, and elsewhere, report a big uptick in the amount of evidence taken from social media and used in divorce proceedings. In a survey conducted by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (AAML), 99 percent of responding family law attorneys report the use of text messages during divorce, followed by information obtained from Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
Here are some important tips to keep in mind about social media use and divorce:
- Create a clean slate before divorce: If you are in a position to prepare for divorce, take a hard look at your social media history. If you can, delete content you would not be happy to explain to your grandmother, an employer, or a judge. Even if you do not anticipate an acrimonious divorce, remove any content, image, or blogs that could potentially serve as evidence of poor character, habits, or behavior. Tighten up your privacy settings and limit public availability.
If your divorce is already underway, talk to your attorney about whether you can delete content or take down social media accounts. If you know questionable or damaging content is already online, be sure to talk to your attorney about it.
- Do not vent: Many people going through divorce use texting as a weapon — sending far too many texts, or texts intended to harass, intimidate, or abuse. On social media, do not take aim at your departing spouse in any forum. You and your spouse probably have mutual friends. Try not to make them take sides, but instead, maintain a civil tone even when you are angry and frustrated.
Keep things calm and avoid condemning your spouse to set the right tone for working through the agreements you need to finalize your divorce. It is difficult to explain away an abusive text or Facebook posting to a judge who is making decisions about the custody of your children. Never post legal documents or pleadings online.
- Stay out of the picture: If you reap a sudden financial windfall, a large bonus, or other positive change in your financial condition, resist posting about it or putting a photo of your luxury vacation online when your divorce is pending. Also, avoid being tagged in photos posted on the social media accounts of friends. Talk to your attorney before you post pictures of someone new you might be dating. Also, be careful of information registered with dating apps — if you mention you have no children, and you do, it can create numerous issues.
- Big Data is watching you: Apps that log or reveal your geographic location can become embarrassing if you claimed to be elsewhere at that time. More important than embarrassment, though, is the effect that being caught in such a lie can have on your divorce proceedings.
Bottom line? Divorce is a great time to catch up with friends in person and on the telephone. Remember anything you put online or express digitally can probably be used during a divorce proceeding. If you have concerns about divorce and social media, speak with a knowledgeable family law attorney.
Experienced local divorce law firm serving Baltimore County
When you have questions about divorce, we have answers. For experienced, straightforward legal advice about divorce or seasoned representation on custody issues, contact us at the Law Offices of Allyson B. Goldscher, LLC, or call 410-602-9522 today.