Most people in America use social media platforms, such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Snapchat, and others, for pleasure and business. These websites are a lot of fun when life is going well – but they came be used against you if you’re going through a divorce. Information and pictures that are posted on social media can be seen by your spouse and his/her friends and families. Social media posts may be available to your spouse through legal discovery.
Any person considering a divorce, in the middle of a divorce, or even after the divorce decree has been entered should consider how social media can hurt their divorce case, their claims for custody and child support, and other family law issues. Parents need to be aware that custody relationships can be modified or challenged until the child reaches the age of 18. Some ex-spouses may continually review your posts for an argument that might justify changing a parenting plan or visitation rights.
Social media precautions for divorcing spouses
As a general rule, you should avoid posting about your relationships (with your spouse, anyone new, friends, and family) online. Judges and counselors generally prefer it when spouses show they can manage their anger and frustrations. Negative posts about a husband or wife can indicate you’re not able to communicate with your spouse.
- Comments about children. You should avoid posting any complaints or criticisms of your children, since those complaints can be used against you in court, if your ex wants to claim you are unfit. A spouse may even show these complaints to your children in an attempt to sway them to his or her side.
- Venting about your ex. We know that talking about your problems can be cathartic – but do it offline, and with people you trust. If you “talk trash” about your ex online, it will almost certainly get back to that person, and can be used as evidence in your divorce proceedings.
- Discussing aspects of the divorce. Avoid discussing any part of your divorce case online. That includes more than just the divorce, too: For example, posting a picture of a new car may be exciting, but a contesting spouse may then question where you got the money for a new car. Spouses should discuss their relationships offline so that the comments and discussions are more private.
- Privacy settings. Spouses who do feel the need to post online should reexamine their privacy settings – though, again, even seemingly private comments may (and usually do) be accessed during the divorce process.
- Post-divorce considerations. After the divorce is final, some thought should be given to whether your social media friends are your friends or your ex-spouse’s. You should think through which friends to keep and which ones to unfriend.
At the Law Offices of LaFevor & Slaughter, our Knoxville family law attorneys give spouses legal advice about their rights and options. We also give our clients practical advice based on our experiences. Our family lawyers understand the full range of marital and divorce issues. For clear guidance, phone us at 865-637-6258 or fill out our contact form to make an appointment.
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As the Managing Attorney with LaFevor & Slaughter, Jason R. Hines handles new client consultations, strategic planning and implementation and represents clients in all the Firm’s practice areas.
As an attorney practicing law in Tennessee since 2009, Jason has represented clients from all walks of life in a wide range of cases in the State and Federal Courts of Tennessee. His practice areas include divorce, family law and immigration.