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Divorce and Social Media: Avoiding Pitfalls

Last Updated on May 31, 2022 by Benson Varghese

Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, Clubhouse… Social media is a big part of our lives today, thanks to ever-evolving technology, but can it affect those who are getting divorced? Divorce and social media can be a bad combination. Most adults today have at least one social media account, and the comments, photos, and videos shared on these accounts could affect their divorce in a negative way.

Social Media Can Be Your Worst Enemy in a Divorce

When spouses decide to divorce, social media accounts are one of the first things a divorce attorney will scrutinize. Most people believe that their posts and comments are harmless for the most part, however, some posts may impact child custody, division of assets, and other important aspects of a divorce.

Facebook or Instagram could, in fact, be the reason someone is headed for divorce, as social media is often one of the reasons couples split. While you may not need to completely shut down your social media accounts, it is a good idea to be very discerning and cautious when posting. Those planning to divorce or are already in the process should not:

  • Change Facebook status to “single” or “divorced” from “married” before the divorce becomes final;
  • Post photos that depict you drinking alcohol, smoking marijuana, or otherwise indicate a reckless lifestyle;
  • Engage in conversations about the divorce on social media;
  • Post things that you are not 100% certain are appropriate;
  • Post photos that indicate you are spending a substantial amount of money;
  • Post photos of you and a new partner before the divorce is finalized.

It is vital for those going through a divorce to use common sense when posting on social media.

Social Media as the Primary Cause of Divorce

Unfortunately, many people use social media excessively, staying on the various platforms for hours each day. Some spouses engage in social media to take their minds off of a marriage that is not happy or stable. The fact is, social media is often one of the primary reasons couples get divorced, whether one or both spouses use it. According to research from Science Direct, up to 12 percent of married people engage in infidelity-related behaviors using these platforms.

Social media may cause issues in a relationship in many ways including:

  • Jealousy and resentment. It is easy to become jealous when it seems like so many friends on social media are happily married and living their best lives. Those who are married may come to resent the fact that their own marriage and life do not seem to live up to others.
  • Some spouses may feel discontented when their partners spend what they feel is too much time on social media. In marriages where both spouses spend a significant amount of time on social media, quality time together or with the children is lost. Resentment may start to build over time when spouses become distracted by their devices.
  • Infidelity and transparency concerns. One of the negative aspects of social media is that it makes it so easy for spouses to meet other people or reconnect with a romantic partner from the past. A spouse may be insecure, or prone to infidelity. Although a spouse may be completely innocent of cheating or the desire to cheat, the other becomes more and more insecure. This can lead to divorce
  • Gambling or addiction. Many people have addictive personalities; they quickly become addicted to video games, gambling, or other activities. When someone becomes addicted to social media, they develop behaviors that impact their marriage, mental health, and even finances for those who gamble on certain platforms.

Divorce and Social Media Challenges – Protect Yourself During Divorce

During a divorce, one or both spouses may use social media to keep tabs on the other, or to gather evidence that may be incriminating. Some of the things that can be done to protect yourself include:

  • Consider visiting with an experienced Texas divorce lawyer to learn about the steps necessary to secure social media information;
  • Do not create posts that should not be seen by others, either publicly or privately;
  • Passwords should all be changed, especially when the other spouse has access to social media accounts;
  • Request that everyone in your network (family and friends) not post any content that involves you without your consent;
  • No matter where you go, act like you are being followed by a camera. Someone can snap a photo of you anywhere – and content goes out into the virtual world in a split second;
  • Be truthful with your attorney and the court regarding your social media content – your spouse’s lawyer can easily prove otherwise which is not a good thing when it comes to your case;
  • Never remove content already posted on your social media without first consulting with your attorney. If you remove content already posted it can be seen in some cases as obstruction of justice by destroying evidence.

When children are involved in a divorce, it is best to make your situation as amicable as possible. Unfortunately, social media posts can turn a friendly divorce into one that is highly contentious. Spouses should never talk about the other spouse for any reason on social media platforms, as it only can make the divorce process more difficult.

Social Media During the Divorce Process

Spouses who are in divorce proceedings should consider deactivating their accounts for the time being, or at a minimum limit their use of social media. It is recommended that spouses do not engage in conversations with their soon-to-be exes, or friends or family of their ex. Spouses should also come to an agreement regarding their children and posting pictures of them on social media. An experienced divorce lawyer can provide guidance in this area, and help spouses set the terms. Never attempt to obtain information about the other spouse through family members or friends, and avoid speaking badly about your soon-to-be ex-spouse.

Consider a Consultation with Varghese Summersett Family Law Group

Divorce can be complicated, and the use of social media may make your circumstances worsen in a divorce case. If you’re considering (or going through) divorce in north Texas, give us a call at (817) 900-3220. Our team can help get you through this difficult time.

J. Turner Thornton
J. Turner Thornton
Benson Varghese is the founder and Managing Partner of Varghese Summersett PLLC. He's been named a Super Lawyer and a Top Lawyer by Fort Worth Magazine.

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