Social Media Tips for Divorcing Couples

Social media is a fact of life. Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube have changed how people stay in touch with family and friends. In fact, millions of Americans have at least one social media profile, which they use to post updates on their lives: marriage, vacations, children…and sometimes their divorce.

Unfortunately, over-sharing details about your divorce can have negative consequences. You might lose the ability to receive alimony and possibly lose custody of the children, depending on what you reveal in your posts. At Plyler, Long & Corigliano, LLP, we strive to simplify the divorce process and help our clients avoid simple mistakes which have dramatic consequences. There is a right way to use social media—and a wrong way. Our divorce lawyers provide some tips below.

The Wrong Way to Use Social Media During a Divorce

We recommend that you don’t do the following:

Avoid venting about your spouse. Divorce is stressful for everybody, and even worse, your spouse might be acting completely unreasonably. Did your husband fail to show up at mediation? Or did your wife not drop off the kids as planned? We completely understand why some people head to Facebook to complain. But there are negative consequences to venting in an online forum. For one, a judge might read this post and think you are trying to alienate the children from the other parent. Consequently, you might not get custody.

Do not like or retweet negative comments about your spouse. So you realize you can’t vent. Does that mean you can like a Facebook post by your sister in which she trashes your husband as unfaithful, a drunk, and abusive? No, you can’t. You should not take any action that a person would interpret as disparagement of your spouse.

Avoid posting pictures of any new romantic partners. People are eager to jump back into the dating pool once they’ve decided to divorce. We completely understand. But you don’t want anything posted showing a new romantic liaison. Adultery has a major impact on North Carolina divorce. Under the North Carolina alimony statute, adultery could prevent you from receiving alimony, even if you would otherwise qualify. If you are the supporting spouse, any “illicit sexual activity” could result in mandatory payment of alimony.

Do not complain about your children. Children—teens, in particular—can drive even a loving parent crazy. Resist the urge to complain. A judge might read too much into any venting about your children, and it’s hard to take back something once it’s written.

Avoid hacking your spouse’s profile. Are you convinced your husband is cheating, and you believe proof is in his Facebook direct messages? You absolutely should not access his account without permission. Instead, tell your attorney, who can seek permission from a judge to access a social media profile. But logging into someone’s account without permission could qualify as a crime.

The Right Way to Use Social Media

This is what works:

Make your profile private until the divorce is complete. Going dark makes it harder for your spouse’s divorce lawyer to find negative information about you. Simply make a profile private and don’t add any new friends during the pendency of the divorce.

Stop posting—if possible. In addition to going private, you should stop posting cold turkey. This is easier said than done. But cutting yourself off from social media is a great way to avoid saying anything negative about your spouse, even accidentally. If you want to share details of how the divorce is going with friends, just do it the old-fashioned way: pick up the phone or go grab a coffee.

Consider a joint divorce announcement. Using social media to make a divorce announcement has increased in popularity. It’s not only for celebrities like Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin. As part of your divorce, you can craft a joint announcement with your spouse to post once the divorce is finalized.

There are many advantages to doing so. For one, you won’t have to tell everyone you know, one by one, that you divorced. Instead, with the click of a mouse, all your social media friends will know, and you can assume that anyone you meet at the bank or grocery store already knows about the divorce.

For another, a joint statement provides a united front for the sake of children and your extended family. It sets the tone for working together as coparents moving forward.

Call Our Divorce Lawyer for More Suggestions

Social media has changed marriage—and divorce. For assistance splitting up, call our law firm to schedule a consultation.