Email, messenger, texts, Instagram, FB chat, Facebook tags, videos – the world is never out of reach as social media and technology bridges any gap in communication that may come our way. But, what do you do when the moment comes when you just want to shut yourself from the world and stay hidden for a while?
Social media is a two-faced connection vehicle that can be both an advantage and a disadvantage in life. It is great when you want to have your family and friends as close as possible no matter where they are in the globe, but when you are going through a divorce, it can become more of an enemy than a best friend.
The thing about marriage is that it is such a wonderful event in your life that you could not help but post about it through your social media accounts. You would probably start with your engagement, to your honeymoon, to that time when you finally have kids and all the good memories are captured in photos and videos for the rest of humanity to see.
So what happens when separation is lurking in the distance and divorce is on its way? In this digital age, you have to know how to deal with social media and make sure that it doesn’t put you in any trouble as you deal with the complications of divorce.
The Upside on Your Side
Because communication is hastened through the Internet, the story of your divorce can likewise spread fast. From there, sympathy can pour in and you probably can’t help but appreciate the attention you are getting at such a difficult time. Most often than not, it is also a way to open doors of communication that you thought will simply stay closed.
Because most people already know about your current situation, a long-lost brother or sister might call, an old friend may suddenly send you a private message, or an office mate might email you about event invites that you can go to, to relax for a little bit. It is not a sin to enjoy yourself, but it is important to keep in mind that social media can actually have adverse effects on your divorce proceedings if not handled properly and you need to be very conscious about them.
Social Media Management
Some people choose not to make their divorce public on their social networking accounts and this is also an option that you can take. If you are the type to find it therapeutic and liberating to post about it though, then you may opt to tweak your privacy settings according to your preferences.
On Facebook, you can adjust the settings on your timeline so that only those friends whom you trust can see your information. The same can be done if you want to change your relationship status. Just keep in mind that you do have common friends with your ex-partner and you have to put this into consideration with each post you make.
If your divorce proceedings are still going on, it is smart to be on the safe side as anything you put out there can be used against you in court. And yes, these days, it definitely includes your social media updates. In fact, your lawyer might strongly advise you to deactivate your accounts during this part of the process. This will help minimize the risk of your posts being used as evidence by the opposing party. You can simply activate your account again once everything is finished.
Should you have too many common friends, deleting your account could be the best decision you will ever make to prevent your posts from getting shared without your knowledge. Surely, you don’t have the luxury of time to guard against all those stuff that you have already posted.
Overall Electronic Communications
In Florida, extreme caution is recommended in all your electronic exchanges. Your ex-partner’s lawyer can subpoena emails, chats, blog comments, instant messages, texts and the like. These are things that cannot be easily taken back once posted and can even be used in favor of the other party.
Even when you have set them to private, a judge in Florida can order you to disclose your log-in information to these social media networks in the process of the marital dissolution. So if you feel that you need to talk about the divorce, go and meet up people in the real world instead of the digital realm. The physical interaction can prove to be more beneficial to you in the end.
Effects of Social Media on Child Custody
During a divorce, you have all the right in the world to let off steam and share your feelings to those whom you know will understand you. When this is done online however, it could be misinterpreted and used against your fight for child custody.
Any instant message, photo, or status update can be captured and have negative effects on your timeshare arrangements when you are put at a bad light simply because you made some derogatory comments about your ex-spouse. Being a responsible parent may be called into question in a case where you post photos or videos showing you drinking, partying, or doing drugs. You have to be really careful. It is better to save all your rants and raves for your time with your best friends or your therapist.
The Best Course of Action
Your lawyer has your best interest at heart but it will help the divorce process when you are able to follow these guidelines. Refrain from documenting anything via email, text, chat, post updates, and any other digital means that the judge can access and read.
By maintaining a positive digital attitude and appearance, consistency can be established between what you convey in person in court and what is made visible through social media. Otherwise, it may appear that you are lying, and this does not reflect well for your character, or your case.
Working to establish a positive and consistent online voice through social media is an important task that Seff & Capizzi Law Group considers during any divorce. At Seff & Capizzi Law Group, we regularly assist clients with their divorce cases and provide valuable information for those that need assistance in understanding how to approach this situation in their own lives.
If you need assistance with social media advice for your divorce, please call us at (954) 920-9220. We have over 40 years of experience and offer a free consultation. Click here for more information about our family law practice and how Seff & Capizzi can help.