Divorce is a stressful and transformative life event, even when you’re on good terms. In the past, breaking marriage vows was a societal taboo, and people were not kind to those who went through with it. Nowadays, between 40 – 50% of marriages end in divorce. The process is neither as scandalous nor as debilitating to one’s reputation, and a divorce lawyer takes care of the process in most cases.
Despite the modern outlook on divorce, new factors are causing couples to split. One of them is social media, which has a significant effect on marriages. Today, social media is the cause behind one in seven divorces. These platforms not only cause marriages to end—they significantly affect divorce proceedings and weaken a case.
One of the first places your future ex-partner’s divorce lawyer will look for incriminating evidence against you is your social media presence. Even seemingly harmless pictures or statements that you make online can cause legal headaches later. When you factor child custody in the mix, the material you post can make you seem like an unfit parent.
There is nothing more frustrating than knowing that legal action against you was the result of something you posted online. Although you don’t have to remove your social media accounts altogether during a divorce, caution is necessary. In this guide, we’ll go over the ways social media can impact your marriage and divorce case, and what you need to know before you post online.
How Does Social Media Lead to Divorce?
The point of social media is to connect with people and exchange information and media. Although some use it for professional purposes, most people use social media for entertainment and to communicate with friends and family. Despite the many benefits that these platforms have on a broader scale, they also create interesting new dilemmas when being social is not in your best interest.
Social media can lead to relationship issues when one or both spouses use it to escape from a rocky marriage. It is also a place where some partners commit infidelity or perform activities unacceptable to the other spouse.
Some of the most common ways that social media causes problems in a relationship are:
1. Unrealistic Expectations
People tend to post their best moments on social media. Especially when it comes to friends and family, most users will post pictures of their vacations, new cars, carefree lifestyles, and seemingly perfect families. For couples who are struggling with financial or relationship issues, these types of posts create unrealistic expectations that are impossible to meet.
2. Jealousy and Discontentment
When an unhappy spouse sees images and posts of other couples that are seemingly happy or more financially stable, it causes jealousy issues. Over time, and especially in an unhappy marriage, a spouse may start to feel discontent and even resentment that their life is not similar to what they see on social media.
3. Cheating and Transparency Issues
The unfortunate reality of social media for some couples is that it increases temptation. If one or both partners struggle with insecurity or tend to cheat, social media is an easy way to meet other people. Even reconnecting with an old flame or not having the intent to engage in cheating doesn’t prevent infidelity.
Social media can distract couples from spending time with each other. Although most people can balance their social media use and their time with their spouses, this is not the case for everyone. Too much distraction from a spouse and children causes discontentment and resentment in the marriage.
Social media addiction wreaks havoc on families, mental health, and relationships. Similarly to video game addiction, social media addiction causes mood swings, time distortion, and withdrawal symptoms. This behavior interferes with one’s daily life and adversely affects the lives of the addict.
Gambling is now a popular part of social media and accessible to most users. Social media gambling is addicting and may significantly deplete family funds. What exacerbates the issue further, is if the other spouse is unaware of the habit and discovers it later.
Before Filing for a Divorce
Before you speak to a divorce lawyer, keep in mind some factors regarding your social media presence. Lawyers use social media to find incriminating evidence of a spouse’s wrongdoing. Even check-ins and tagged photos contain information about your whereabouts and the company you keep.
In the days or weeks leading up to your divorce, it may be tense between you and your future ex. No matter how angry or hurt you are, now is the time to avoid posting anything negative about your partner. Even if you decide to split, don’t post pictures of you partying, consuming intoxicants, or keeping company with a suspicious person.
It’s also a smart decision to inform your family and friends of your intent to divorce. Remind them not to post negative comments about your spouse online. If the divorce is not amicable, remove your spouse from your social media profiles and make the accounts private. Scour your friend’s list for potential informants who may monitor your activities.
During Divorce Proceedings
While the divorce case is ongoing, limit your social media use and even consider temporarily deactivating your accounts. Avoid chatting with your ex or their friends, and do not post pictures of yourself that could harm your custody case if you have children.
Consider reaching an agreement with your ex about posting pictures of your children during this time. You can reach an agreement with your respective legal teams to set the terms. Always follow the advice of your divorce lawyer as they know how information can be incriminating.
Whatever you do, never speak ill of your ex or try to provoke them with your posts. Also, resist trying to use your friends and family members to gather information about your ex. It is time to distance yourself and protect your case from going awry.
After the Divorce
After your divorce, you are technically free to post on social media or speak to anyone as you see fit. However, if there are issues that can harm your custody agreement, a divorce lawyer can use them to change the terms.
Not all legal agreements are permanent, and changes in your lifestyle can lead to a change in the terms. For example, if you pay child support and post about a significant promotion in your job, your ex can use that information. Their attorney can appeal to adjust child support or alimony payments.
Try to stay on good terms with your spouse if there are children. Not only is this healthier for your children, but it also decreases the likelihood of your spouse resenting your decision and using information against you.
Regardless of your relationship, your social media use must change permanently to protect the agreements you made in court.
The Do’s and Don’ts of Social Media and Divorce
With these general tips to keep in mind, you can decrease the likelihood of legal trouble due to social media. Remember that these platforms are not necessarily harmful. However, they can turn the case in favor of the other party if you aren’t careful.
- Follow the legal advice of your divorce lawyer.
- Change your social media passwords and limit public access.
- Delete any posts or images that could affect your case.
- Inform friends and family of your intent to divorce and ask them not to post about your spouse.
- Remove your ex and their friends from your social media pages.
- Consider deactivating your social media accounts
- Post pictures of your children before you and your ex agree on the approach.
- Try to maintain a civil relationship with your spouse during this time.
- Post pictures of yourself partying, drinking, or using drugs
- Speak about your ex negatively or engage in conversations regarding them online
- Try to contact your ex or give information to people who could be possible informants
- Boast about significant changes to your job or living situation
- Trust privacy settings alone to hide your online activity and delete harmful information
- Rule out creating new social media accounts and email addresses
- Let your friends tag you in photos that can harm your reputation
These simple steps can make a substantial difference in the direction of your case. With some common sense, you can make the process easier and decrease the likelihood of an adverse outcome in your case.
Navigate the Divorce Process with DAME Legal
Our legal professionals at DAME legal help you navigate your divorce proceedings and advise you on social media use. Nowadays, it is easier than ever to access incriminating information about people online, and this is often a priority if the divorce is not on good terms.
Your reputation and case are at risk if you are not careful with your social media use during your divorce. With an expert divorce lawyer from DAME legal by your side, you can rely on our legal experts to give you sound advice on your social media use. For more information, contact us at (201) 968-5800.