Social media has become a daily part of modern life for many adults. Millions of people use social media to promote themselves professionally or as part of their job. Others rely on social media for everything from advice about where to get their tires replaced to communicating with friends and family.
During a difficult personal experience, like divorce, it is natural to think of social media as a tool or resource for support. However, the ways that people utilize social media when thinking about or going through a divorce can have negative consequences for the outcome of their case.
The three tips below are good guidelines for reducing the possibility that online activity could lead to real-world consequences in the event that you are thinking about getting divorced or have already started the process.
1. Reevaluate privacy settings and friend lists
People often like to connect with as many others on social media as possible, meaning they have an extensive network of friends, former coworkers and local community members following them or regularly interacting with their content.
Removing mutual friends and/or the family members of a spouse can be a smart move in the early stages of divorce. Many people will block those that they don’t want accessing their profiles. Others will simply make the majority of their content completely private.
2. Avoid commenting on the divorce
Given that social media is a way to brand oneself, many people will share the details of their daily life and the conflicts they experience. Doing so during any legal matter could lead to consequences in the courtroom later. In some cases, such as when one spouse blames the other for divorce and references infidelity, what someone says online could even lead to claims of defamation.
3. Remember that nothing is truly private online
Individuals can make their profiles private and remove their spouse from their friends list, only to have their social media used as leverage against them in their divorce proceedings. Private messages and updates shared only with certain people can still find their way back to a spouse or their attorney through screenshots.
Lawyers can also sometimes request full access to social media records through the discovery process, which might mean they can even see deleted or hidden information, along with private messages. Those who limit their social media use during a divorce can potentially protect themselves from complications that could make their divorce messier and more expensive.
Identifying and avoiding activities that may only complicate a pending Pennsylvania divorce will benefit those preparing for the end of their marriages. In a nutshell? Think carefully before you utilize social media until your case is finalized.