If you're anything like roughly 75% of American adults, you probably have a social media account of some sort. It can be tempting to turn to social media platforms to vent your frustrations or escape from the stress of an ending marriage.
The truth is, social media now plays a not-insignificant role in the divorce process. Knowing what not to do on social media during your divorce can help you dissolve your marriage more peacefully.
Consider Cutting Social Media out of Your Life
Typically, cutting social media out of your life entirely until your divorce gets finalized is the best move you can make. Unless social media plays a key role in your profession or is your only way to keep in touch with friends and family, consider dropping it.
There are legal and personal reasons to avoid social media platforms during a divorce. We'll get into the legal reasons in a bit, but for now, let's talk about the personal reasons.
Changing your status on social media (say, from "married" to "single") can disrupt your life in unforeseen ways. Family members, friends, and even coworkers may feel compelled to pry into the circumstances of your divorce. This can be especially unnerving if you have coworkers that worry your divorce will compromise your professional performance.
Announcing your divorce online can also have ramifications for the other party or any children you have. Friends of yours might assume the worst and attack your soon-to-be-ex on social media, causing unneeded tension in the divorce. Your children or their friends might see the announcement, disrupting their lives and inciting emotional distress.
Generally, posting about a divorce on social media causes more of a headache than it's worth—so don't.
Don't Disparage Your Ex
We mentioned legal reasons to avoid social media during a divorce earlier, and this is one of them. If you do need to use social media during your divorce, refrain from posting about your ex in a derogatory manner.
In a divorce, the court considers the character of both parties when determining how to divide assets and liabilities, determine child custody, etc. Courts generally favor whichever party is more amicable and works to make the divorce as low maintenance as possible.
Stirring up drama by posting derisively about your ex can land you in the court's bad graces. Your ex can also use it as evidence against your character during a child custody battle or property division dispute.
Don't Join a Dating App
Texas recognizes fault-based grounds for divorce, such as adultery. If your ex finds out you joined a dating app while still technically married, they could use evidence—such as your user profile—to accuse you of adultery and secure a more favorable judgment against you. Avoid dating apps until the court finalizes the divorce.
Make Your Profile Private, and Review Your Posts
Your spouse can use your social media profile as evidence of your character in court. Depending on the judge's sensibilities, things could get rocky fast if you like to post jokes the court considers unfunny or material it might deem offensive.
Making your profile private is a good step, but be wary of deleting posts. The court may see deleted posts as an omission of guilt, so speak with your lawyer before removing anything from your timeline. It may be better to leave an "offensive" post up and argue that you've grown as a person since posting it, instead of deleting it outright. Your lawyer should be able to advise you on whether to leave your profile public or private and work with you to tackle any issues that might arise from your social media presence.
Don't Post Assets You Acquire
It doesn't matter how long you've been saving up for that new car, it's not a good look to post a picture of it online during a property division or spousal maintenance dispute. Posting new assets during a divorce can give the court the impression that you're financially stable as-is, resulting in a less favorable property division, child support, or spousal maintenance judgment.
At the Law Offices of Mark M. Childress, PLLC, we work with clients to help them navigate divorce.
To learn more, contact our offices online or via phone at (817) 497-8148.