Marriage is difficult; add social media to the mix and it takes the issue to an entirely different level. While many of us turn to social media to stay connected to family and friends, social media can also serve as a third-party in many relationships, one that can lead to separation and divorce.
A study done by British law firm, Slater and Gordon, found that one in four married people would consider divorce because of how their spouses were acting on various social media sites. Perhaps what’s even more disturbing is that another 17 percent said they argue on a daily basis over their spouse’s social media antics. This sounds more like anti-social media than anything else.
When enough bickering and disagreement eventually leads to divorce, the role of social media doesn’t end. In fact, social media shares can be used as evidence when it comes to alimony, child support, and other divorce-related issues. For example, you may tell your spouse you have no money to pay alimony or child support while posting a picture on Facebook of you on a fun (expensive!) vacation. Ouch!
Here’s something else to consider. Just because you may not be posting about your personal life, doesn’t mean your friends aren’t. If your friends post about the long weekend in the Hamptons you all had while you complain you’re broke, chances are you’ll end up in hot water. They may either tag you or have mutual friends with your ex meaning that those pictures will get back to him or her eventually.
Social Media as Evidence
If you think divorce lawyers aren’t using posts like those in their cases, think again. A study found 80% of lawyers in the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers use evidence from Facebook in litigation. It makes you think twice about what you share and what is shared about you on social media.
It’s not just Facebook that is being used in divorce cases. Information from professional sites like LinkedIn can also influence a case. One divorce lawyer from Texas says a LinkedIn profile referenced a side business that was never noted in the case. This meant his client could ask for and get more child support than was previously requested.
Besides the monetary aspects of divorce, social media can also play a role in custody issues. While custody issues are complicated at face value, posts and pictures that portray a parent in a negative light are never going to help a case. Partying and drunk pictures are not going to sit well with a judge who is ruling on whether a parent should have full custody of their child. Not taking and posting those pictures, better yet, not participating in such behavior is probably a better decision when going through divorce and custody battles.
Your Digital Footprint
While current posts may hurt your case, so may past posts. If you think deleting accounts with that information will solve your problems, think again. Deleting accounts is actually considered destroying evidence and may lead to a lawyer being sanctioned. You have to always remember once you share something on social media it’s out there for the whole world to see…today, tomorrow, and forever.
If you are going through a divorce or custody issue the best advice is to stay off of social media. Don’t add more fuel to the fire and don’t give your ex more evidence to use against you. In the end, social media is more your enemy than your friend during divorce. That’s a status update you can like and share.