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To Tweet or not to Tweet: Avoid Social Media Missteps During A Divorce

At one time or another, we have all said things we regret and wish we could take back. With the growing popularity of social media, comes an increasing amount of ways it can impact a person’s life. Social media and what you post on social media has the potential to impact a person’s life in monumental ways, especially for those going through a divorce or any type of legal proceedings. Although it can be tempting to use social media as a way to vent, it is critical that you steer clear of using social media in ways that could negatively affect a divorce or any type of legal proceeding. The fact of the matter is, it is crucial that you think before you post. Here are just a few reasons why social media should not be your legal diary.

Don’t Provide Evidence That Hurts You

What you post on your social media sites can be used to hurt you in court proceedings for a divorce. Social media plays a huge role in many people’s daily lives so it has become increasingly common for social media to be used as evidence in legal proceedings. For example, there have been many instances in custody cases where legal teams use social media posts to show why a parent should not have custody of a child. Social media has also been used to show how people are being dishonest in their disclosure to the court. In cases where one party indicates they don’t have a job or money, social media posts show them parting on exotic vacations, which have been used to counter their claims. One of the most common uses for social media is to post about what a person is doing in their daily life, and if these posts include excessive drinking or illegal activities, you can almost bet these postings will be used in legal proceedings against them. The laws regarding using social media as evidence in court vary from state to state, but email and text messages are often admissible in court and can be subpoenaed. In addition, once you post it online and have been advised of maintaining all electronic data, you cannot simply delete a post you now regret. It is better to be safe than sorry if you don’t want a judge to read it – don’t write it.

Words Can Be Forgiven: But Not Forgotten

What you post on social media can hurt not only you but also your family members and those involved in your legal situation. Whether you are going through a divorce, custody hearing or any type of legal proceedings, this situation does not just involve you but it involves other individuals as well. This is especially true when there are children involved. According to Divorce Psychologist, Dr. Lori Love, “Children internalize the negative words that one parent says to another. To the child, it can be as if their parent is saying the very words about their own character.” It is one thing to confide in some friends or other family members about what is going on, but posting about it on social media is not fair to the others involved in the situation.

Leave Your Dirty Laundry Off-Line

In the short-term, airing your “dirty laundry” on social media can feel vindicating, but that vindication can come with a big cost in the courtroom and at home. This is especially true for those who do not have the best relationships with their ex-partner. No matter how much you want to make Facebook posts venting about how much you despise your ex-partner, it is probably best that you just steer clear of bashing them online where the post can remain in the universe forever. Once something is posted online, it can be memorized in a screen shot by others looking at your site and used as leverage by your ex-spouse to barter for more custody or prized holidays with the children. That is why it is crucial to think before you post. As difficult as the situation might be, posting about it on social media no matter how angry or upset you are, is not the way to go.

Divorce or any type of legal issues is hard enough as it is. Memorializing your thoughts and feelings at one of the most emotionally challenging times of your life is not advisable either legally or personally. Although social media can be a great way to engage with people and express thoughts and feelings, it is probably just best to avoid involving social media in a divorce or any type of legal proceeding. The key to using social media is just to think before you post. You wouldn’t want to make a difficult situation even harder by potentially harming yourself or the people around you by posting something on social media that you should have left unsaid. Split second decisions to post could haunt your for years to come. So why take the chance?

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