What role does social media play during a divorce?

In today’s world, we often communicate with others via social media sites such as Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook more frequently than in person. In some ways, this ease of contact makes for witty comments or memes that convey passing feelings to our virtual audience. When it comes to relationships, however, and especially the issues that come up during a divorce, social media can have a very negative effect.

For Indiana residents going through a divorce, having a trusted legal source to guide them through challenging issues that come up is essential not only for the emotional wellbeing of the entire family but for everyone’s future as well.

How does social media affect relationships?

According to research findings, married couples who do not use social media are 11% more content in their marriages, and there is also a correlation between the health of a marriage and how much time the spouses spend online. Once suspicions of infidelity, bad behavior, or negative attributes of a partner take hold, the temptation to find answers on the internet rather than in the relationship creates more problems.

During the divorce proceeding, social media can play a powerful role in how spouses view their relationship. Venting online to Facebook friends may feel good at the time, but if the other spouse or the children see the post, it may trigger a reaction that will make negotiations even more challenging.

For couples going through a divorce, it makes sense to:

  • Keep a low media profile during proceedings by changing your privacy settings.
  • Remove your relationship status until after the divorce is final.
  • Do not discuss the details of the divorce online.
  • Do not share photos or comments with others on social media, and ask friends not to tag you.
  • Be careful to monitor how the children are communicating online, as they may fall prey to cyber-bullying.

Can my spouse use social media posts against me?

In a contentious divorce, all bets are off when it comes to casting the other party as irresponsible, untrustworthy, or an example of bad parenting. One parent may pay a price if a photo of them partying pops up when they claimed they did not have time to see the kids. A spouse who claims to not have any money for alimony may have to explain themselves if there is a post of them buying a car. And a parent’s business trip post could look like they need less, not more, visitation time.

Under the Indiana Rules of Evidence, authenticating an item of evidence in court only requires one party to “produce evidence sufficient to support a finding that the item is what the proponent claims it is”. This standard for admission of evidence can include public records, cell phone records, or social media content. When it comes to divorce, lowering risk may mean taking a step back from your online presence until the proceeding is done.