Social Media Etiquette for the Newly Separated or Divorced

  •   |   Meghan Freed

Updated November 25, 2023

As with so many other aspects of modern life, the emergence of technology generally and social media specifically has had a huge impact on relationships—more specifically, the end of relationships. In fact, as CNBC reports, multiple studies have consistently linked social media use with an increase in divorce rates. Social media can also create complications for couples in the process of separating as battling lawyers look for dirt. Divorce Magazine even suggests that people have lost custody battles due to their ill-advised postings on Facebook, Twitter and other social channels.

However, social media is neither positive nor negative; it’s merely a tool. As long as you use it appropriately and respectfully both during and after divorce, you don’t have to fear someone eventually using your posts as a weapon against you. Let’s explore some basic social media etiquette for divorcing or separating couples.

Keep Your Private Details Private

The biggest mistake people make is assuming what they post is not public. Even with privacy settings on, people find creative ways to uncover what you’re putting online. As a rule of thumb, assume everything you post online is both public and permanent. Don’t share anything you wouldn’t want your ex (or his lawyers) to see, from finances to flirtations.

Avoid Bashing Your Ex

We all need to “vent” from time to time; for divorcing or separating couples, Facebook is not the place to do it. Complaining to your social media friends about the latest fight with your ex, or sharing the laundry list of everything that’s wrong with the ex, can only generate more bad blood. (Don’t forget the kids might be watching, too.) Show the same kind of respect you’d want to be given.

Don’t Block Your Ex, Either

Some people assume blocking or “un-friending” an ex gives them the freedom to share online. In fact, it only generates more animosity, making it more difficult to settle—not to mention it might raise suspicions. Keep your ex in the social media loop—just behave yourself.

Don’t Spy

Facebook has created a whole generation of voyeurs; don’t be one of them. Especially after you’ve parted ways, resist the temptation to check up on your ex, and don’t start Googling his new friends. Connecting the dots the wrong way can lead to unnecessary hard feelings. You want your own life; let your ex have his.

Impact of Social Media on Divorce Proceedings

Social media has become an integral part of modern life, with millions of daily users worldwide. It’s no surprise that many individuals turn to social media during a divorce, whether to seek support from friends and family, vent their frustrations, or even gather evidence for their case. However, this can have a significant impact on divorce proceedings, both positive and negative.

It’s important to know that your online presence can literally come into the courtroom should you wind up in a divorce hearing or trial.  For example, lawyers may use it to gather evidence of infidelity or other misconduct, which can impact a divorce case.  It’s true that social media can be a source of emotional support and a way to connect with others who have gone through similar experiences. However, it’s critical to know that social media can also be a source of conflict and can potentially harm your case.

For example, posting negative comments about your spouse or their family can be used against you in court and may damage your credibility. Similarly, posting pictures of lavish vacations or expensive purchases can be used to argue that you have more assets than you’re letting on, potentially affecting the outcome of your divorce settlement. Therefore, it’s crucial to be aware of the potential impact of social media on your divorce case.

Dos for Navigating Social Media

If you’re going through a divorce and want to use social media responsibly, there are some dos and don’ts to keep in mind. Here are some dos for navigating social media during a divorce:

1. Think before you post

Before you post anything on social media, ask yourself if it’s something you would want your spouse, their lawyer, and the judge to see. If the answer is no or you’re not sure, it’s best to refrain from posting altogether. Remember, anything you post on social media can potentially be used against you in court.  It’s crucial to think carefully before hitting that “post” button.  If you have any hesitation, don’t do it — or at least ask your lawyer first.

2. Keep it positive

During a divorce, it’s easy to get caught up in negative emotions and want to vent your frustrations online. However, posting negative comments about your spouse or their family can be detrimental to your case and may harm your credibility. Therefore, it’s best to keep your social media posts positive and refrain from posting anything negative about your spouse or their family.

Don’ts for Navigating Social Media

Along with the dos, there are also some don’ts to keep in mind when navigating social media during a divorce. Here are some of the most crucial don’ts:

1. Don’t overshare

During a divorce, it’s essential to keep your personal life private and refrain from oversharing on social media. Avoid posting about your divorce proceedings, financial situation, or anything that could potentially harm your case.

2. Don’t make threats

Your spouse’s lawyer may use something you’ve said that they perceive as a threat against you in court.  This can significantly harm your case. Therefore, it’s essential to refrain from making any threats, even if you’re angry or frustrated. Remember, anything you post on social media can potentially be used against you, so it’s crucial to be mindful of your words.

3. Don’t use social media as a weapon

Don’t use social media as a weapon during a divorce.  Doing so can be incredibly harmful — and the court may even consider it harassment. Therefore, it’s crucial to refrain from using social media to harass, intimidate, or threaten your spouse. Doing so can result in legal consequences beyond only harming your case.

How Social Media Can Be Used As Evidence in Divorce Cases

Lawyers use social media as evidence in divorce cases, both positively and negatively. Here are some ways we use it as evidence:

1. Infidelity

Social media can be used to gather evidence of infidelity, such as messages or pictures of your spouse with another person. This evidence may affect the outcome of your case.

2. Financial misconduct

Posting pictures of expensive purchases or vacations can be used to argue that you have more assets than you’re letting on, potentially affecting the outcome of your divorce settlement.

3. Parenting ability

Pictures or posts in which you diminish your ex can demonstrate poor judgment as a parent.  And of course, posts that depict you engaging in illegal or irresponsible behavior can be used to argue that you’re an unfit parent and may affect the custody arrangement.

Next Steps

Freed Marcroft encourages proper social media etiquette as part of our strategy to help you move on after divorce into a fuller, richer life. To learn more, contact our offices today.

Freed Marcroft LLC

Freed Marcroft LLC