These days, social media has become a normal part of everyday life for
most teens and adults (of all ages). Platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter
and Instagram have been so deeply woven into the fabric of our society
that social media has trickled into
divorce proceedings nationwide.
In fact, the
American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (AAML) reported, “An overwhelming 81% of the nation’s top
divorce attorneys say they have seen an increase in the number of cases
using social networking evidence during the past five years.” This
report was published in February of 2010. Since social media use has only
increased since then, one can only imagine how much social media is playing
a role in the divorce process.
“As everyone continues to share more and more aspects of their lives
on social networking sites, they leave themselves open to much greater
examinations of both their public and private lives in these sensitive
situations,” said Marlene Eskind Moses, president of the AAML.
Should I Block My Spouse?
“Should I block my spouse from my social media accounts?” We
hear this question lot. It depends on your spouse and the nature of your
divorce. Here’s our advice: You can block your spouse, but this
is a personal decision. If you’re friendly, there may not be a point;
blocking your spouse may only cause unwanted tension.
On the other hand, if your spouse is the jealous type and you expect him
or her to be stalking your social sites, you may be better off blocking
them from all of your social accounts. If you decide to block your ex,
you may want to block all mutual friends who are sympathetic to him or
her. This way, your mutual friends can’t spy on you for your spouse,
nor can your spouse spy on you under the guise of using a friend’s account.
How to Behave on Social Media
Whether or not you decide to block your spouse, you should still watch
your behavior on social media. As divorce attorneys, here is the advice
we give our clients about posting on social media during a divorce:
1. Don’t change your status to single. This can anger your spouse and lead to a lot of unsolicited questions from
dozens, if not hundreds of friends, followers or connections.
2. Don’t incriminate yourself. No matter how much you may want to show your spouse that you’re having
fun without him or her, refrain from posting pics that are self-incriminating.
Avoid posting pics of you drinking alcohol, partying, dating, or spending
a lot of money. These types of posts can hurt
spousal support and
child custody matters in a divorce. Believe us, it’s not worth the risk.
3. Do change your passwords. Since you lived together, it’s very possible that your spouse made
a mental note of your social passwords and stashed them somewhere for
safe keeping. Carve some time out of your busy day to change all of the
passwords on your social media and email accounts.
4. Stop checking in on Facebook. Your spouse does NOT need to know that you checked into a bar or nightclub,
nor do they need to know that you’re at the mall shopping
again. At a new car dealership? Your spouse does not need to know this, even
if you were simply test-driving a few models with your best friend. People
do not need to know your whereabouts during this sensitive time; you’re
better off guarding your privacy for now.
If you’re one of those people who are used to chronicling their daily
life on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, it’s time to rethink your
social media behavior. Before you post, think of how it will affect your
spouse, friends and family, and your divorce. If it’s too tempting
and you don’t trust yourself, consider taking a break until the
divorce is final.
To meet with a San Diego divorce attorney,
contact our firm for a free consultation!