Social media can be a great way to stay connected with far-off friends and loved ones and to do career networking. But social media can have negative implications for some people — particularly those going through a divorce.
If you are a person who checks Facebook before even getting out of bed or sends a final tweet before drifting off each night, you may want to rethink your social media usage while in the throes of a contested divorce.
Over-sharing, or TMI
Some social media users don't seem to be able to eat in restaurants without posting snapshots of their meals. Others can't resist documenting their daily activities in a series of online posts.
This can be problematic, for a number of reasons. People rarely realize what their online activities truly reveal. You might believe that shot of lasagna and salad that you had while dining out with friends has no negative implications whatsoever. But what about that glass of red wine and the nearly full bottle in the background?
Your soon-to-be ex-spouse could potentially spin that picture as you going out drinking with friends while the kids were in your custody. He or she might question whether or not you were sober when driving home from the restaurant, or use a series of photos of restaurant dinners to indicate that you don't appear to need spousal support.
Do you play online games?
Many people like the challenge of a game of Words With Friends or beating a tough level of Candy Crush. On the surface, it seems like a harmless way to waste time waiting in line or while watching TV.
Contentious custody battles often devolve into quests to see which spouse can dredge up the most dirt on the other. It may be possible to paint one parent as neglectful if the other parent's family law attorney subpoenas game logs to show the many hours of gaming that take place while the kids are in the gaming parent's custody.
Don't forget texts and emails
Remember, the internet is forever — all it takes is one screenshot. If it's sent via the internet, there is a indelible digital record of it out there somewhere. Think twice before hitting send on that offensive diatribe to your spouse (or anyone else, for that matter).
You never know where and how your own words can be used against you in custody disputes or other divorce matters, so beware of bragging about that raise at work in your email to a friend. There is always a way that it can be spun negatively and affect your case.
Take a social media hiatus
If you are planning to divorce, consider taking a sabbatical from social media during the pendency of your divorce. Social media is not an airport, so there's no need to announce your departure from it. An organic withdrawal using personal restraint is fine, although some find that temporarily suspending their accounts to be the best maneuver.