Social Media During Divorce
You May Have a Right to Post But Should You?
Our article today happens to many families going through separation, divorce and working through child custody and parenting plans. At some point communications break down, emotions take over and fingers fly over the keyboard or phone to send those thoughts and feelings out to family and friends on social media. Our question is this: although in some cases, you may have a legal right to post your angry feelings and emotions about your soon to be ex spouse all over social media – SHOULD YOU? Should you be using social media during divorce?
To Post or Not to Post
When a person is going through something painful, it’s natural to want to vent about it to someone. Social media is the perfect place for that. Open up Facebook just to look something up and you will find yourself in a black hole an hour later wondering where the time went! Social media is less about media and all about social. It’s full of drama. So it’s often the first place a person goes when anything happens to them. New car, post on Facebook. New puppy, post on Instagram. Going on vacation, post videos on TikTok. Lost my job, post it somewhere on social media. There are groups for everything on social media. So it stands to reason that social media and divorce can go hand in hand when it comes to posting!
However, social media is part of the internet and the internet is an unforgiving record keeper. What goes on the internet stays on the internet and can be found even if you delete it. You may post it, feel better and then delete it a few minutes later, thinking it’s all over. Unbeknownst to you, several people saw it (someone is ALWAYS watching on the internet) and snapped a shot of it. It was forwarded to family members of your spouse. We like to call that “stirring the pot” because there are always people who like to just keep the drama going. Social media is full of people who forward posts and photos. It is how social media grows. It is how it was intended to be used and it’s one of those things that can cause you major issues during a divorce if you choose to post about your ongoing divorce struggles.
Can You Legally Post on Social Media About Your Divorce?
Legally speaking, you can post that you are getting a divorce. There should be nothing wrong with a “getting a divorce” or “going through a divorce” post. It’s the disparaging posts about your spouse, their family and more that cause problems. If you post derogatory things, your spouse will probably seek an injunction. And if you both agreed not to disparage one another while your children were young, and IF this meets the definition set out in that agreement, you may be ordered not to post anything else on social media. However, even if you are allowed to post, exercising your First Amendment right to do so, is it really wise?
Social Media during divorce can lead to some tough issues in divorce court. See also
- Your posts can illicit comments about your lifestyle you need to address in court because suddenly you may find yourself under a microscope where everything you do is called into question. (working late hours, going to a party and more)
- Your posts can be used to show that you will not work with the other parent on issues such as visitation or that you hold hostility
- Depending on the nature of your posts, they could be used for slander and/or libel
- Depending on your agreement, your posts could contain something that breaches that agreement (no overnight guests while child is staying, for example)
Social media posts give away a lot of detail. When you are going through a divorce, it’s best to say less; to offer less until it’s all done. It’s best to abide by the parenting agreement you have in place because courts always look to what is in the best interest of the child. The first order of business for a court is to think of what is really going on and how the child is likely to observe things. While they cannot take everything into consideration, they can look at what is written in front of them. We always say that it’s best to be conservative when it comes to going through a divorce or custody battle.
If you are in need of legal advice for a family law related issue, contact our office.