Nowadays, most people cannot imagine their life without social media. More than 2.77 billion users of social networks, forums, and blogs make up about 40% of the world’s population. On average, social media takes up around 30% of the overall time spent online. While there’s nothing wrong with having a Facebook or Twitter account, the information in them can be used against their owner.
Can Social Media Affect the Divorce Outcome?
Judicial practice these days takes into account changes in the information world and uses them to its advantage. For example, in divorce proceedings, judges have begun to accept evidence in the form of screenshots from social accounts, recordings of conversations from instant messengers, and comments on various websites. As reported by CompleteCase.com, 24% of marriages ended last year because of infidelity, and 27% of spouses found out about the affair by reading their partner’s online messages.
At the moment, social networks are essentially a massive database with a wide variety of information about hundreds of millions of people worldwide. It is an inexhaustible source of personal information about its users. It means that our profiles, messages, and emails are very much accessible to other people. Therefore, when starting a divorce process, you need to carefully control all your activities on the Internet and make the most of it for your benefit. All you need is to follow a few fundamental rules while on social media to contribute to your divorce’s desired outcome.
How you can benefit from social media
Social media, such as Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat, and many others, are colossal storage of valuable information. It can be used in many various ways, including enhancing your chances of obtaining the post-divorce terms you want. Below we offer several options on benefiting from combining activities on social media and divorce proceedings.
Use lawfully obtained information.
Comments, posts, photos, and videos that your spouse shares on social networks seem inconsistent at first glance, but they carry valuable information that may be used for your benefit. We are not suggesting watching your spouse’s every move and looking for skeletons in the closet. Use only publicly available information, such as Twitter posts, comments on Reddit, or videos on YouTube. For example, show the judge a photo from Instagram with your spouse’s unworthy behavior or screenshots of offensive statements addressed to you.
But be careful. Remember that you cannot use your spouse’s password to log into their account and gather the information you need. The illegally obtained information is not admissible in courts and may get you in trouble since it’s basically hacking, which is against the federal law.
Be careful with your communication style.
Good manners and common sense are very relevant when communicating on social media. Be honest, considerate, and polite. Your active use of social media during a divorce should become an instrument of building your positive image. If you post something online during your divorce proceedings, choose only positive and truthful information. Use a neutral tone in all your messages and comments, and refrain from direct insults towards your spouse. The court can interpret harsh criticism and offensive statements as a tendency to aggression.
Remember that even if you delete your comments and posts right after their publication, they still can emerge at the most inopportune moment, for nothing disappears without a trace on the Internet. After all, someone might have taken a screenshot of your post before you deleted it. When it comes to correspondence with your spouse, be as polite as possible and don’t let your feelings get the better of your common sense.
Make sure your data is secured.
With the advent of the digital age, keeping things secret is becoming increasingly difficult. And even if you have absolutely nothing to hide, you still have to protect the privacy of your data. Any information can be taken out of context and misinterpreted. Therefore, minimize access to it during the divorce proceedings as much as possible.
First of all, change your passwords to social network accounts and make them private, especially if your ex-spouse has access to any of them. Ask friends and family not to post information about you online. And don’t add new friends on Facebook or Instagram, especially if you are not very familiar with them. One may be a fake account from which your spouse, friends, or even a private investigator will monitor you to collect the necessary information to use in court. If you have to send confidential information to someone, make sure it won’t fall into the wrong hands.
How to prevent social media harm on your divorce case
A useful rule to remember is that it is almost impossible to hide something once you’ve downloaded it on social media. During a divorce, you need to behave to not provide your soon-to-be ex-spouse and their lawyer with anything that they can use against you during the trial. Your activity on social media can harm you in several circumstances that we discuss below.
If you expect to receive financial support after divorce
In a divorce, financial support may be granted to one spouse from another if there is a clear need for it. Several factors are considered in the process, and it is not that straightforward in reality. That’s why it’s paramount to be careful with what you share and discuss with other people. If you’ve recently started a divorce and social media is your second home, at least try to sit tight for a while until everything is over.
The first mistake people make is bragging about purchases on their social network pages. For instance, they discuss and post photos of their trip to an expensive restaurant. This information will come in handy to the ex-spouse’s lawyer, who can use it to reduce your financial support claims significantly. And vice versa, if you discovered that your spouse had started a profitable business or bought a stake in a company, you could provide evidence in court and request more alimony.
If you want to win a custody battle
Divorce of a married couple with minor children always raises a rather painful question – which parent gets the children after separation. If spouses do not conclude an amicable agreement about child custody, it is up to a judge to determine the kids’ custodial parent.
Your life on social media may seriously damage your chances to obtain child custody. For example, it is better to refrain from sharing photos from parties and corporate events with alcoholic beverages in the frame. They may give your spouse’s lawyer a chance to suggest you are unfit to be a primary custodial parent. As a result, the judge may award child custody to your ex-spouse because the primary consideration they use in this process is to act in the best interest of a minor child.
If you want to improve your chances of winning the custody battle, it would be a good idea to show on social media that you are a loving and responsible parent that frequently spends quality time with your child. Upload videos from your child’s school holidays or sports events that you attend regularly. Your joint photos from the amusement park or from visiting children’s performances will be a great addition. The child’s happy smiling face next to you might persuade the judge to rule in your favor.
If you have a new relationship during the divorce process
Filing for divorce does not mean that you are free to do whatever you want. It primarily concerns the situation when you have a new romantic relationship. Technically, you are still married, so your spouse may accuse you of cheating. As a general rule, lawyers do not recommend dating until the client receives a divorce decree.
In the meantime, if you still don’t feel like waiting that long, at least try to keep your new relationship low-key on social networks. Don’t post photos together with your date and convince them to do the same. Ask your friends not to tag you in their photos. Don’t leave romantic comments on your new friend’s page. In other words, reduce your social media activities to a minimum. Don’t give your spouse any information they can use against you.
Social media can serve as a place for self-expression and relaxation, a source of positive emotions and useful experience. Nobody says that during a divorce, you need to give up the privileges of the media space. Just be careful about your actions and contemplate all consequences they might have on your post-divorce welfare.