Posted on March 12, 2018
Divorce is a time of big changes. Experiencing strong emotions like sadness, pain and even anger is not unusual, and seeking sympathy is only natural. However, it is important to understand the difference between confiding in a few close friends versus sharing your thoughts and feelings with a few hundred acquaintances on social media.
The average person will spend nearly two hours on social media everyday. We voluntary share information about everything we do, eat, feel or think. Unfortunately, sometimes we disregard the implications of how those expressive posts can impact us in the long-term.
Colorado laws have not entirely caught up with emerging technologies, thus making it unclear how to apply the law in certain cases. For example, can social media posts be used against you during a divorce?
Using Social Media Smartly Can Be Key To An Amicable Divorce
1. Social Media Discretion
When a decision has been made to seek divorce, discretion can help avoid hurt feelings and legal complications. Before you go and post about the decision on social media, under the influence of strong feelings, it is smart to have a discussion with your ex-spouse about your social media strategy. Making a decision together of when and how to make changes to your relationship status can help set expectations for both sides involved, and allow you to plan on when and who to introduce to your decision. This is not the time to race for who will share the gossip first. It is rather a time to sit back and focus on the best possible way to conclude your separation.
2. Comments About Your Ex-Spouse
In some cases divorce is a turbulent experience. It comes charged with many emotions and it is easy to slip and say mean-spirited things about your ex-spouse. Acts of this nature not only increase the tension between the two parties but also can be hurtful to surrounding people, such as family and friends. Keeping everything you post about under strict control can save you from uncomfortable situations, and maintain your image of a respectful ex-spouse.
3. Protecting Your Personal and Professional Image On Social Media
Protecting your personal and professional image is a long-term goal during a divorce. Over sharing on the one hand can become off putting to your social circles. On the other hand, it can also change how, future relationships evolve and how you are perceived. Imagine yourself applying for a job. Social media is a valid source of information for employers and many modern work places take in consideration how you present yourself publicly. After all, no one wants an employee who is overly vocal about his or her personal events, or brings their personal drama to the public space/office.
4. Social Media Posts Can Affect Us Long-Term
Divorce can bring a sense of liberation. Or sometimes it makes us resort to showing how great your life is (on the outside), despite internal emotional struggles. Before you start posting about your amazing single life of shopping sprees, dates and so on, consider how that might affect your settlement or custody agreement. According to the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, 81% of divorce attorneys say they’ve seen an uptick in the number of recent cases where social media evidence was used. Don’t ignore the fact that everything you publish on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, you name it, gets shared among thousands of people and remains a virtual record for a long time.
5. Protect Your Emotional Health
Out of the average two hours we spend on social media daily, surely some of that is dedicated to looking at other people’s lives. But for the sake of your emotional health, try to not obsess over your ex-partner’s posts, likes and new friendships. Many couples share their social media logins. This is not a good time to access password-protected information without permission.
Social Media Privacy Recommendation During A Divorce
The best privacy recommendation you can follow is to think about long-term implications. Yes, divorce is not an easy time for you, but you are not the only one impacted by the situation – children, parents, friends can all see what you post and share. Remain respectful of yourself and everyone involved. If you have the urge to share something or need someone to listen, seek personal interactions with people you trust, in private settings. If you have any doubt of how information might affect your case, don’t post it and seek legal advice. Lastly, if social media is too big of a temptation, just deactivate your accounts for a period of time. You can always come back to your social media channels. Protect yourself from too much unnecessary or negative attention until your divorce is finalized.