For those of us of a certain age, we should be thankful that social media was not around when we were younger. If you parent teenagers, then you have daily examples of what I am talking about. Let’s be honest, if all of our adventures were shared for the world to see, we would be shaking our heads in the same way we do at the younger generations. Even if your adolescence was not influenced by social platforms; many of us use them today. Social media offers the opportunity to put forth the image you want others to see, but it can also be a source of unwanted complications. If you are in the middle of a divorce, or even contemplating one, here are some things to be aware of when it comes to your social media use.
1. Be Careful What You Post
You may be tempted to vent about your problems or the rollercoaster of emotions you are feeling during this time on your pages. It is a natural instinct to reach out for support when we are in pain. Yet it is important to remember that social platforms are public. Your rantings could end up in court. Unfortunately, just blocking the ex is not always as effective as one might hope. Even if your accounts are private, all it takes is a mutual friend of your ex to screenshot some status updates that they might send to their lawyer. Be careful about what you post.
2. Be Careful Who You Post With
Even when you are being careful about your content, friends or organizations might make your activity known through tagging. There is nothing wrong with a night out with friends but if your friends are trying to help your situation by posting the fun you’re having or bad mouthing your ex you might have a problem. These posts can backfire and impact your legal battle. As stressful as divorce is, adding more needless strife to the situation is avoidable and unnecessary. Without a strict approval process, you can be tagged in anything on social media. Make sure to communicate with your community about what is and is not appropriate to tag you in.
3. Be Careful About What Your Posts Are Communicating
We see it often: an ex is scoping out your social media accounts—or if blocked, having a “mutual friend” do it. They see you having fun with a group of friends. The questions arise. They will inevitably lead to:
- “Wow, you sure are spending money out with your friends… your need for spousal support must just not be there if you can do that!”
- “I see there’s no social distancing/ mask-wearing. I wonder about how much you care about your children and their health.”
- “Who is the new cutie you keep showing up with? Have you been cheating on me?
The possibilities are endless. The Virginia Code outlines factors that can and should be considered in a custody dispute or a bid for support. When your ex’s attorney gets screenshots of your fun, you will know, and you might not like it.
It is important to be careful about what, who, and why you post. Make sure to be aware of the optics. Be conscientious of putting the “wrong” image out there. As a family law office our attorneys have ample experience helping our clients navigate the muddy waters of social media usage. If you feel stuck, don’t hesitate to give us a call and schedule a consultation so we can help you move forward.