Social Media and Your Divorce
During your divorce, you are going to need support. You will find a great attorney or mediator, therapist, and a team of financial professionals – all of these individuals will help you build your post divorce life – as we do here at cBridge. As you walk through this time you may also find the need for connection to others…and social media can certainly fill that need.
You may be sitting home alone on a Saturday night flipping through Facebook, on a fancy vacation with your new significant other, or wanting to share with the world you just received a huge promotion. While you may think that your digital life is private, the truth is that anything you put out on social media is for public consumption and could be shared with your ex possibly weakening your divorce.
A classic scenario: you are currently negotiating to pay less alimony or child custody here in Bucks County, PA and you take your new girlfriend on vacation to Cabo. You post a selfie of the two of you from the balcony of your suite as your soon-to-be-ex-wife is home taking care of the kids, panicking about getting a job and shoveling two feet of snow from the driveway. While you are no longer friends someone takes a screen shot of your post and emails it to her “well, I guess he has moved on.” Rage, anger, sadness and a slew of other emotions overwhelm her and she send the information to her attorney proving you can clearly afford her demands. Even if the girlfriend paid for your trip it is going to increase attorneys fees to deal with the mess and dump fuel on the emotional fire costing you time, money, and probably giving you a whooping headache.
It is really best to lay low on the internet. If you are going to maintain a presence, here is my best advice:
Secure your accounts:
As soon as your divorce begins, make sure to change your passwords to all of your accounts. This includes your email (which can be used to change your passwords). I would also recommend using your own password protected computer (so your soon-to-be-ex can not put keystroke logging software on your computer).
Limit your friends:
You and your spouse (soon-to-be-ex) probably have several friends in common and are probably connected to each other’s family members as well. Even if you and your ex are no longer friends, who else could be sharing your posts? During this time you only want to be communicating with a select few individuals who you can really trust.
Be smart with your posts:
Never post comments about your ex or your divorce process…at all. You never know how the reader is going to interpret your comments and they could be misconstrued in some way then used against you. Avoid posting about time, money, problems, feelings, and your ex until the divorce is over.
Several years ago when I went through my divorce the internet provided me with information and a connection to others. But I was very careful in sharing my life for several reasons – I knew my ex was also active, we shared many friends and I did not want to parade myself. Additionally I stayed away from negative comments as I knew my children were also seeing my posts. I took the high road and encourage you to do the same.
Jennifer Gardella, PhD is a social media consultant specializing in helping divorce professionals reach their ideal clients. She brings a wealth of experience to her clients as she is a divorced mother of three teenage daughters. A blogger for the Huffington Post, Jennifer enjoys sharing her life including rebuilding a life after divorce, remarriage, step-children, growing her business and establishing a close relationship with her co-parent (ex-husband).