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Social media and divorce

On Behalf of | Jun 20, 2022 | Divorce

In this age of social media and instant sharing of life moments, it is all too easy to put your entire life, both the good and bad times, on display for the world to see forever. While this transparency and opening of one’s heart can be touching and move the emotions, it can also bee a double-edged sword in the world of divorce and child custody litigation. From my experience, it is usually best to keep your private life under wraps and proceed with caution when posting to social media.

I have seen many cases where litigants post their drinking or drug-induced escapades on social media, only to have their estranged spouse or paramour capture those images and use them to gain an advantage in court. Other times, I have seen litigants take to social media to call out their spouse in the wake of a fight, only to find that the post backfires portraying the posting party as the aggressive or unreasonable one.

The fact of the matter is there is very little to gain from a vitriol-laden post or a picture of a drunken moment, and an awful lot to lose. The post will likely not change the other spouse’s ways, and all too often diminishes the posting party’s ability to take the high road during a court hearing. When a custody decision hangs in the balance, a judge will often look to something tangible on which to hang a crucial ruling. Ill-advised social media posts can give a judge reason to do just that.

Ultimately, the question becomes whether giving someone a piece of your mind on Facebook is worth the price to be paid later in court. The answer is unquestionably no. So, here a few dos and don’ts regarding social media use:

  1. Do not post about your estranged spouse in anger. It’s better to cool off first and contemplate the ramifications of your actions.
  2. Keep private moments private. Don’t give your estranged partner any ammunition for calling you out in court or blowing some innocent moment out of proportion to gain a strategical advantage.
  3. Watch out for posts in which you are tagged. Keep an eye out for pictures of compromising moments that friends may post. If you are involved in heated litigation, make sure your friends know about it and avoid tagging you on a post that is subject to misinterpretation or leaves you vulnerable to an attack in court.
  4. Watch how you portray your children. Even an innocent post about your children can sometimes be twisted into a situation where the posting parent has been lax in his or her duties. I’ve seen pictures of children who get normal bumps and bruises associated with being a kid used in court as evidence of neglect.
  5. Avoid pictures of heavy partying. This is obvious and could tip the scales against the posting party in a tight custody fight.

At the end of the day, it is always best to put your best foot forward in court. One should always be mindful of things that could enflame an already volatile situation. Custody litigation is about the best interests of the children. It is never a good idea to give your estranged partner a reason to become further agitated and perhaps even misrepresent a situation to the court. A good rule of thumb is to always think twice before posting when you are in litigation and never arm your estranged spouse with ammunition to use against you. When in doubt, just don’t do it.

For more information on the hazards presented by social media in the context of divorce or a custody fight, contact attorney Kevin “Buck” Sralla for a consultation.

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