No matter how secure you think your social media accounts are, what you share and comments you make are public. Here’s now to stay out of trouble with social media during a divorce.
There are some pretty cool things about being an A-list celebrity: parties, clothes, unabashed attention from your fans. Less cool about being famous? Watching your personal life explode and your social media friends and followers having front-row seats.
Marriage—whether you are an A-list celebrity or your average Jack or Jill—is hard work. When it fails, it’s a deeply personal, private, heartbreaking event. The implosion of a marriage has no business making the headlines, fueling gossip, and hurting those you love.
Before you say to yourself, “My dirty laundry can’t be aired in public, nobody pays attention to what I’m doing online,” think again. Even if you know how to use privacy controls or even quickly delete something you wish you hadn’t posted, what you say on social media is not private. Not at all. For example, many people on Facebook don’t realize that when one of your friends Likes or comments on what you’ve posted, your post shows up in the newsfeed of all their friends. If you’re connected to one (or a few) of those people who Friend every person who sends them an invite, your “private comment” is immediately available to hundreds – possibly even thousands – of people you don’t know. Or even worse, it becomes viewable to people you do know and would rather not see your dirty laundry.
If you are getting divorced, Stay off social media. You’ve heard it before: The Internet lives forever. Once you post a picture or a comment, it can never be fully deleted. Just like you shouldn’t post those crazy Spring Break photos, no one really needs to read about the sordid details of your collapsing marriage. How your ex cheated on you, isn’t paying their fair share, is undermining your parenting or keeping your kids away from you is incredibly frustrating but it is not appropriate to share on social media.
Why Social Media Is Bad for Divorce
If your divorce proceedings end up in court, what you have shared online can be discussed in front of a judge. This can have a negative impact on your divorce settlement. Not just the financial aspect, but custodial issues as well.
If you want to come across as the “good parent” in an ugly divorce, play nice online. Don’t bad-mouth your ex, family members or friends. Don’t use social media as a public forum to air private grievances. If you do, your parenting skills might get challenged, and suddenly you are battling suggestions that you are unfit, have a wicked temper, or mental health issues.
Bad-mouthing your ex is never the right thing to do no matter how tempting it is or justified as it might seem. You’re still talking about your children’s parent. No matter how bad you think that parent is, your children have a right to love their father or mother, unconditionally and venting about them online undermines your children’s emotional well-being. Divorce, and all the attendant losses, is hard enough. Your children are already feeling vulnerable, a bit like a bone in a tug-of-war (many of them feel acutely responsible for their parents’ split). Don’t feed the fire by actually posting news they can abuse.
Not only will they see your unkind words, so will their friends and other family members. This can lead to bullying and other emotional fallout that is not healthy, or necessary. It can also create unnecessary tension at holiday gatherings.
If you’ve locked down your privacy settings, that’s one start. But if you haven’t, your words, a personal look-see into the most painful time of your life, is open to everyone: Potential employers, love interests, advertisers, scammers…
How to Do Social Media Right During a Divorce
If you’re treading the fine line of seeking emotional support from your online community and wanting to play the blame game, here are some ways you can use social media more wisely:
- If in doubt, wait 24 hours to post an update
- NEVER post after having a few drinks (and never share images of you partying with your friends)
- Ask yourself: How would this make my kids feel if they read this?
- Ask yourself, “Would I be embarrassed to read my words out loud in a court of law?”
- What is your social media legacy? Weak and sad from life’s letdowns or strong and confident that you can move on? Shoot for where you want to BE, not where you ARE.
- If your circle includes co-workers, your boss or other professionals, think how your rant might affect their opinion of you.
- Remember those Dear Diary days? Buy one with a lock and key and use it. Keeping a journal is a healthy outlet. It keeps emotions in perspective, and private.
Remember. There IS no such thing as online privacy. Unless you really want to live the life of A-list celebrity, handle social media with care.
To learn more about how divorce mediation can help your case, contact any of our Divorce Attorney Mediators or Certified Divorce Financial Analysts at CT Divorce Mediation Centers. Divorce and Family Mediation and Collaborative Law are all we do. We have offices in Madison, New Haven, Cheshire, West Hartford, Glastonbury, West Hartford, and Windsor, CT. To find out more information or to schedule a consultation with our divorce experts, call us at (860) 986-1141.
DISCLAIMER:This publication is not meant to constitute legal, accounting, financial, investment advisory, or other professional advice. If legal, financial, investment advisory or other professional assistance is required, the services of a competent professional person such as CT Divorce Mediation center, should be sought.