Social media use has exploded across the globe in recent years, with the US coming in as the third largest social network user base in the world. Statista, a statistics aggregate site that gathers data from more than 22,000 reputable sources, provided additional details on our obsession with social media:
- In the US, 81% of the population has set up a social media profile;
- This figure amounts to just under 210 million users, ranging from those who are constantly checking the accounts to some who visit social networks infrequently; and,
- Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube are among the most popular social media sites for users in the US.
Because social networks are so prevalent, it is no wonder that they have an impact on every area of our lives, including divorce proceedings. While you should always get more specific advice from a Southfield family law and divorce attorney, the following are some simple tips on social media use during divorce.
Avoid Oversharing: It is natural to want to connect and communicate with your friends and family about your divorce, but save these conversations for in-person encounters. You may reveal personal details, strategy, and other information that could negatively impact your case.
Do Not Criticize or Harass Your Soon-to-be-Ex: Follow age-old advice handed down through generations: If you cannot say something nice, say nothing at all. Ranting about your ex, bashing that person’s life choices, and sharing intimate details about your relationship may hurt your credibility in divorce proceedings.
Think Twice Before Posting Pictures: The internet is forever, so always keep in mind that photos, videos, and other posts could come back to haunt you. Images of that crazy night out with friends could harm your chances in a child custody battle, and video of snorkeling in the islands does not support your position if you are seeking alimony.
Do Not Spy on or Troll Your Soon-to-be-Ex: Electronic snooping is a crime when you interfere with private messages through email, text, video chat, and other channels. Plus, any information you obtain cannot be admitted in your divorce case. It is true that there would be no violation of law if you scan through your ex’s public social media profile, but keep in mind some social networks offer apps for private interactions. Intercepting this content may put you at risk of legal trouble.
Consider Children’s Feelings: If your children are old enough to appreciate social media, they may be watching the online conversations and interactions in which you are participating. Be sensitive to this possibility and be considerate of their feelings. To them, that person you are divorcing is a parent.
Do Not Violate Court Orders: Temporary orders are common in divorce cases and a judge may issue decrees limiting social media use for you and the other party. Abide by a court’s order to the letter to avoid potential issues with contempt of court.
Contact a Southfield Family Law Attorney About All Aspects of Divorce in Michigan
Social media is convenient, fun, and imparts a sense of community, but divorcing spouses should be aware of the implications of improper or inappropriate usage. For more information on how to protect your interests in using social networks, please contact Benson & Associates, PLLC. We can set up a consultation to review your circumstances.