When You’re Going Through a Divorce, Creating Boundaries With Your Devices Is Critical

“Social media posts can leave a long-lasting footprint, and the fact you delete something does not mean it has been erased.”

marvent / Shutterstock
marvent / Shutterstock

No matter how you decide to look at it, divorce is, as you know, incredibly stressful. In today’s technology-driven world, however, many people believe that social media is a neutral arena. It is the type of virtual environment where you can separate yourself from the drama, express yourself, and maybe get in a little venting. After all, what good is having over a thousand “friends” online unless you can use them as a support group, right? Wrong. No matter how much you are itching to fire off a tweet, or update your Facebook status with details about your soon-to-be-ex, as part of your self-care as well as strategic strategy, I strongly advise against engaging in social media during the divorce process.  Social media is simply a world that can make your divorce much more difficult. 

Yes, it might feel awesome to bash your ex and put it on display online.  You may say “That is the best self-care I can think of!” Think again. I encourage you to put your phone, iPad, computer, whatever away.  Sit on your hands for goodness sake or purchase some mittens and sew the thumbs together!  Keep your social media mouth shut while you are getting divorced from the person who has ignited your ire. 

This applies to everything that might be happening in your life—even if it is on the peripheral of your divorce proceedings.  Found a new beau you think is ten times the man your spouse was? Keep it to yourself. Contemplating what you are going to spend your divorce settlement on?  Mum’s the word. Social media might give you multiple ways for broadcasting what is happening in your life, and yes, you may be encouraged to share every stray thought and feel like sharing is caring, but no one needs this information.  This is especially true as it pertains to your ex, your ex’s attorney, and the judge.

I had a client once (let’s call her “Theresa”) who bashed her ex on social media calling him a “cheat”, a “liar” and saying he could not be trusted.  Sure enough, his boss and other business colleagues saw her posts. He was denied the promotion he was up for which resulted in the income he had available for support for Theresa and the children to be less than expected.  Was the release really worth it?  

Anything the public has access to can be used against you in court.  So, the first thing your spouse’s attorney is going to do is Google you—and Google will show what you have been up to.  Opposing counsel wants to know who you are, and however you showcase yourself to the world on social media, this will be the way you are presented in court.  I cannot stress this enough: If you are getting a divorce, do not go on social media and post things about your spouse or your children, because chances are, it might be used as evidence against you in court.

If you are a parent in the midst of a divorce, you have others to consider, too.  Your divorce is not just about you, it also involves your children. So, the things you say online can impact them as well. 

In today’s world, kids often learn how to tweet before they can say their ABCs. Keeping this in mind, how would you feel if your children saw something negative or derogatory you said about their father online?  Social media posts can leave a long-lasting footprint, and the fact you delete something does not mean it has been erased. Not by a long shot. Unless you want your children to read those vicious words one day and picture your sweet face scowling, hatred oozing out every pore, just say no to social media and limit the impact of your digital footprint.  Do not post anything that could make anyone question you, your ethics, your judgment, your morals, or your integrity. Just do not do it. 

Here are some words of advice when you feel the urge to post on social media.  When you are about to type something quickly—just to get an issue off your chest which has been bothering you or because you are excited about something you just bought or acquired— think to yourself, “Would I be comfortable sending this tweet/post in a text directly to the judge?” or “Would it be okay if my children read this?”  If the answer is yes, then feel free to type away, otherwise, stop typing. 

My advice to clients is, if you are going through the divorce process and you want to say bad things about your spouse, opt to have a glass of wine with a close friend you can trust and spill your guts to her.  But stay off of social media. I have never heard of anyone whose problems were instantly solved after they aired their dirty laundry on social media. Sometimes loose fingers are worse than loose lips.

Excerpt from The New Rules of Divorce: Twelve Secrets to Protecting Your Wealth, Health, and Happiness by Jacqueline Newman with permission from the author and publisher.

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