You may have followed news stories about people losing their jobs because of something they posted online. Sometimes posts may have drawn the attention of police and may even have ended with the person being arrested. In some cases, the posts went viral, and the world shared its ruthless opinion about what may have been a careless, innocent comment.
This is why advisors recommend being very careful about your use of social media when you are separated or heading for divorce. Your posts – which your soon-to-be former spouse may be carefully scrutinizing – may have an immediate, negative affect on your divorce.
The reach of social media
It may feel good for a moment to release your stress in a tweet, status, blog or social media rant. However, pictures or comments meant to vent or gloat may also have some unintended consequences, including:
- Affecting the court’s ruling regarding child custody if your posts show irresponsible or illegal behavior
- Influencing the court’s calculation of your spousal support payments if your posts show extravagant spending
- Alienating your soon-to-be ex just when you need his or her cooperation
- Upsetting or confusing your children if they or their friends should see your posts
Even though it may have seemed harmless to you, a judge may take your post out of context or misunderstand its implications. This may leave you in the awkward position of having to put meaning to what was simply an emotional outburst.
Deactivation may not be enough
Your spouse’s attorney may be canvassing more than your Facebook or Instagram account. All of your digital communication or devices are fair game in a divorce dispute:
- Cellphone records
- Internet searches
- Dating sites
Legal advisors recommend keeping your digital footprint as small as possible throughout the divorce process.
Your future in a tweet
Psychologists suggest finding a healthier way to vent your frustration. Talking privately with a friend or joining a support group may be helpful. Face-to-face counseling may benefit you emotionally and eliminate the need to take your grievances to the worldwide web.
Of course, your attorney is also a good resource for legal advice. Because your lawyer has years of experience, he or she will be able to advise you on how best to handle your digital devices and internet presence to minimize any complications. Following your attorney’s advice will ensure that your divorce will proceed as smoothly as possible.