Turning to social media as an outlet during difficult times is something many people do. If you have a bad day, you might vent on Facebook; if you are unhappy with a service you received, you might send out a tweet recounting the experience; if you are feeling sad or upset, you might post a picture on Instagram looking for support and kind words.
However, turning to social media can be unwise if you are going through a difficult divorce. This is because what you post on these and other social media sites can be used against you during litigation.
How do courts use my information?
After litigation starts, you will need to preserve all your social media posts. Once your social media data is preserved, you cannot delete the things you post. This data can then work against you in a few ways if you are not careful. Inflammatory status updates may paint you as a vengeful, angry person; posting pictures of yourself engaging in illegal or risky behavior could affect custody decisions; clicking on ads for things like gambling could affect how your property is distributed.
Your social media presence and activities can say a lot more about you, your motivations and your actions than you think.
But isn’t my account private?
Assuming that your account is private and therefore you can say whatever you want is a mistake. As noted in this article, sharing information with others means that you do not intend for it to be private. In other words, just because your ex can’t see your profile doesn’t mean that content is private. It can and will be subject to discovery during litigation.
What should I do to keep social media from hurting me during a divorce?
In order to keep your social media from causing problems for you during your divorce, you might consider taking a break from it. If you do use it, do so thoughtfully. Imagine someone reading aloud to a courtroom everything you have said and done and consider how it might sound or make you look.
If you have specific questions or concerns about social media and how it might influence decisions in your divorce, discuss them with your attorney who can help you understand the implications of your social media use.