Monday, March 31, 2014

Why you should avoid social media during a divorce

Everyone is on social media these days, whether it's Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or another website.  It's a quick and easy way to express ourselves, gain support from family, friends and acquaintances and show our support for those people as well.  During a divorce or custody case, however, you may want to keep those things limited to more private settings and here's why:

1.  You never know who can really see what you're posting.
Let's say you are recently separated and went out last weekend for a fun, crazy, girls weekend.  You had a great time and want to share those hilarious pictures with your circle of friends.  But do you want your spouse to see those pictures?  His attorney?  The Judge handling your divorce case?  Probably not.  The most innocent pictures and posts can be taken completely out of context and used against you during your case.  Even if you've blocked your spouse, maybe you forgot to block his best friend.  May his best friend saw the pictures, saved them and emailed them to your spouse.  Or maybe you're still Facebook friends with his sister because you still get along great and she saw those pictures and held onto them herself.  The point is, when you post something on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, your audience may be larger than intended.

2.  You cannot control who posts things about you.
You can only limit posts about you.  Back to the previous scenario, let's say it's your best friend who wants to post those pictures.  If you are not on the social media sites, at the very least, your friend cannot tag you in those pictures and advertise that you are in them.  However, if you are going through a divorce or custody case, you should talk with your friends and family and make sure they understand that you do not want anything involving you to be put on social media.  Most people will understand where you are coming from.  If not, talk with your attorney about how to limit any unwanted exposure on social media. 

3.  The support you get from your social media group may actually hurt you.
You're in the middle of trying to settle a custody dispute with your soon to be ex-spouse and you're frustrated.  So you turn to Facebook to express that frustration.  Next thing you know you have a full list of friends providing advice on how to handle those negotiations: "tell him you're the mom so you should obviously have the children", "bring out the fact that he had a speeding ticket 10 years ago and you'll definitely win", etc.  While these are most likely friends and family members that intend on supporting you during this tough time, this support can actually hurt you.  Your custody case and any negotiations taking place are specific to your case.  What worked for your best friend's cousin, may not be applicable in your case.  Leave these discussions for you and your attorney.  If you need to vent to someone, talk with your attorney about an appropriate person to vent to and how to keep yourself focused on your case. 

The bottom line is that social media can hurt you in unexpected ways when you are going through a sensitive case. Always be careful what you put on the internet, you never know where it'll end up.  Turn to close friends and family for support in ways other than social media.  And always keep your attorney involved and up-to-date on anything that is posted on the internet.

If you are going through a divorce or custody case and would like more information or a consultation, please contact us at (804) 447-0146 or clbaudean@baudeanlaw.com.