Words can be weapons, sharp as knives. When you are going through a divorce, it is important to keep calm and avoid being involved in anything on social media that could hurt you or your children during a divorce. Credibility is very important and once you lose your cool, it can be difficult to rehabilitate yourself in the eyes of the court. Social media is a tool. A tool for communication, and a tool that can be used to harm people. While some chose to avoid all social media during a divorce, our communication networks are ubiquitous for many of us and going completely dark might not be feasible. How you approach social media and plan for known dangers during a divorce can make life much easier and pleasant while you experience a likewise challenging process.
Reasons to avoid social media during divorce:
- People have become skilled at screenshot captures. Even if you think you can say something, even in a comment, and then delete it quick, you may be forever called to defend your statement;
- Your spouse or false friends might try to trap you. The comment you might respond to could be bait by another person who is fishing for your response. For some reason, some love to make other people mad when they are going through a difficult life transition. Don’t take the bait;
- You never know who is watching your every move. Do not assume everyone on your social media pages is absolutely legitimate. The online world is full of people who do not mean well and steal someone else’s pictures to create fake profiles. Are you sure everyone on your page is who you think they are?
- Nobody wants to hear anyone over share their divorce. While we all have a circle of our best supporters whom we know, love and trust, there are other people on your social media pages you might not know as well. It is never a best practice to hear people with whom we are not as well-acquainted share information about a divorce or family law case. If you really need to tell someone you won in court, give them a phone call instead;
- Someday your kids or others could revisit your posts. Have you ever used the memories features on social media pages? From time to time a truly cherished memory appears, and at other times there might be memories we try to forget. Yes, the good, the bad and the ugly are all out there somewhere if when we hit post or send. Developments in technology make it ever easier to search the Internet and social media histories for all types of posts and information.
Legal problems with the deleting of data and privacy breaches
Have you heard your “wise” friend suggest you go through your spouse’s phone? Maybe just to see who they are texting quick while they are in the shower, but is it okay? The answer on many levels is no. Federal law on this topic, the Electronic Communications Privacy Act might be good reading for anyone concerned with cyber snooping. Similar problems include accessing accounts without consent, even if you have the passwords.
While you might think there is just too much to worry about and you want to just delete your social media account, be careful because that might also land you in hot water. Always talk to your attorney before making important decisions during divorce.
Good advice for using social media when going through divorce
While some lawyers may tell you to absolutely stay away from social media during divorce, that can be a difficult request. If you can create and follow a “social media during divorce” policy, it may be helpful to have a sense of normalcy through social media during an otherwise abnormal time.
It may be appropriate to make a simple statement to your friends and followers in your network that you are going through a divorce (or just say stressful life event) and appreciate everyone’s support but state that you are not going to talk about it online, and you thank everyone for their care and understanding. Sure, someone might not see that post and chime in later, and all you must do is send them a private message saying you appreciate them but are not going to talk about it online.
Unfollow anyone who is likely to stir up emotions. Make a list of people who might trigger your response while the divorce is ongoing. If you chose to be friendly with the in-laws after the divorce, re-follow them at that point, but in the meantime, you don’t likely want to see everything they post.
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