Social media has become an integral part of our lives, shaping the way we communicate and share our experiences. However, when it comes to divorce proceedings, your online presence can have significant implications for your case, which we will discuss in further detail below.
What Role Does Social Media Play in Divorce?
One of the most critical ways social media can influence divorce proceedings is by serving as a source of evidence. Posts, photos, interactions, and even private messages on social media platforms can be used to paint a picture of one's lifestyle, behavior, and financial status. This digital evidence can impact various aspects of divorce proceedings, including custody battles and the division of assets.
For instance, posts that show reckless behavior or irresponsible parenting can negatively affect your chances in custody disputes. Similarly, demonstrating a lavish lifestyle on social media while claiming financial hardship could raise questions during the division of assets.
Even more concerning, abusive or violent social media posts can lead to legal repercussions, such as restraining orders. Such content can also be considered by the court when making child custody determinations.
Should I Delete Social Media When Going Through a Divorce?
Given the potential complications, some individuals might consider deleting their social media accounts during divorce proceedings. However, this could potentially create further legal complications.
While you may consider deleting the apps from your devices, you should avoid deleting your online profiles entirely. Deleting social media content during an ongoing legal proceeding might be viewed as destroying evidence, which could have serious legal consequences.
Furthermore, any attempt to hide or alter past behavior could be seen as an admission of guilt. It is also important to note that deleting your social media account or posts themselves does not mean you have eliminated any chance of the opposing counsel obtaining the content.
Instead of deleting your accounts, it might be more beneficial to use social media cautiously and responsibly during divorce proceedings. Here are some tips:
- Limit your posts. Avoid discussing your divorce or posting anything that could be used against you, and consider reducing how much you post or share during the case.
- Review your follower list and settings. Make sure your privacy settings are up-to-date to control who sees your posts. Please be advised that even if your account is private, people may still screenshot your posts and send them to your soon-to-be-ex, and posts can still be acquired during your case. So, while limiting who has access is a good idea, you must still be mindful of what you say and post.
- Be honest with your counsel. If there are posts that may be detrimental to your case, it's better to discuss them with your attorney proactively.
Can I Block My Spouse on Social Media During My Divorce?
Blocking your spouse on social media during divorce proceedings can have a range of effects, both beneficial and detrimental. From a positive perspective, it can offer emotional distance, reducing the chances of heightened distress caused by seeing an ex-spouse's activities.
This separation can be therapeutic, allowing for personal healing and growth and preventing the potential exacerbation of negative feelings. Restricting what you see online can also limit the possibility of digital disputes, which can negatively influence the divorce process.
Conversely, this action carries potential drawbacks, including:
- Seeming like a hostile move. It may foster a hostile environment that can complicate negotiations, given that communication is often key in resolving disputes amicably.
- Being seen as uncooperative. More seriously, it could potentially be viewed by a court as unwillingness to cooperate, especially in cases involving child custody.
Therefore, while blocking a spouse on social media might provide immediate emotional relief, it may not be the most advisable strategy in the long run. Instead, consider setting boundaries regarding online interactions, such as limiting how often you can look at their profile or prohibiting yourself from engaging with their content.
You may decide to mute your ex’s account instead of blocking them, as that restricts what you see but does not alert the other party. It might also be helpful to use direct, respectful, and open communication channels for discussing matters related to the divorce to avoid misunderstandings.
Experienced Virginia Divorce Attorneys
At Butler Moss O'Neal, PLC, our attorneys have over a century of collective experience. If you are considering divorce or have already filed/been served divorce papers, our firm can help you move forward with a clear understanding of your rights and options.
We can also help you develop a personalized case strategy that accounts for any social media content that may be used by opposing counsel. Our attorneys can also collect evidence from your soon-to-ex's online accounts and other sources to help strengthen your case.
You can trust our team with your case. Schedule a case review by calling (540) 306-5780.