Social Media and Divorce Do Not Mix

St. Charles Divorce Attorneys

Kane County Divorce Law FirmThese days, almost everybody is on social media. Your friends are on it, your colleagues are on it, your parents are on it, and your children might even be on it. Social media is so deeply immersed in our lives that not using it can make an individual feel like an outsider. Social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram can bring people together and help them build meaningful relationships and enact social and political change. But social media can also be used destructively, from teens using it to cyberbully each other to uninformed users spreading incorrect and even dangerous information among their peers. One thing to always remember about social media is that once content is uploaded to a platform, it is there forever. Although you can delete a comment or a post, you cannot guarantee that before you deleted it, somebody else shared it or took a screenshot, keeping a copy of your post alive forever. When you are working through a divorce or a family court issue such as modifying a parenting time agreement, the content you upload and share on social media can be used to support a claim about your lifestyle. This is why individuals engaged in the divorce process are advised to limit their use of social media or avoid it altogether until their divorces are finalized.

How Using Social Media Before Filing for Divorce Can Hurt your Case

When the court determines aspects of your divorce settlement, such as the division of your property or your parenting time agreement, it does so with the evidence it has to make decisions about your personal needs and fitness to parent. Any evidence presented to the court can be used to make these decisions, including evidence taken from social media.

For example, your former spouse might claim you are committing adultery and use pictures of you and your alleged significant other from Instagram to support this claim. Although the act of adultery itself cannot impact how much of your marital asset pool you are given when your property is divided, if your spouse can prove that you used marital funds to take your adulterous partner out to dinner and purchased gifts for him or her, this may be considered.

Your social media posts can also impact how your parenting time and parental responsibilities are determined. The court makes these decisions with your child's best interests in mind. Social media posts can be taken out of context to make you appear to be an unfit parent. For example, pictures of you drinking can be used to support a claim that you are a heavy drinker and that you drink when you have your children. Your conduct on social media can also be used to support a claim that you are uncooperative or antagonistic toward your former spouse, which can impact the court's perception of you. Social media platforms with “check in” features can also show the court exactly where you were at a given time, such as out with friends instead of at home with your children.

Tips for Using Social Media While your Divorce is Pending

Some individuals recognize that they cannot keep themselves from making inflammatory statements on social media and choose to stay off these platforms completely to avoid hurting their image. Others choose to use social media in moderation, keeping their discussions to topics like current events or plans with friends.

Keep the following tips in mind to guide your social media use while your divorce is pending:

  • Use the “grandma rule.” If you would not want your grandmother to see a post, do not make that post;
  • Keep your social media circle small. Unfriend anybody you do not have a consistent, friendly relationship with and set your privacy settings high so only your close friends can see your activity;
  • Remove or “untag” any photos of yourself that you do not feel are flattering; and
  • Keep any negative thoughts or feelings about your spouse, the court, or your divorce off social media. Instead, express yourself in a journal or through face-to-face conversations with a trusted friend.

Work With an Experienced Kane County Divorce Lawyer

If you are considering filing for divorce soon or if you have already done so, it is important that you express your thoughts and emotions about the divorce privately, rather than in a potentially destructive public manner. To learn more about how to conduct yourself online and offline while your divorce is pending, speak with a member of our team of experienced Kane County divorce lawyers at Goostree Law Group by calling 630-584-4800.

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