Your emails and online activities are fair game during divorce proceedings. If Anthony Weiner’s sordid online messages are anything to go by, it’s that what you post or send digitally can and will be used against you. And when custody of your kids is on the table, you better believe your ex-spouse will use some digital snooping to get an advantage.
Facebook and the Relationship Status
You’ll learn social media has an impact on divorce negotiations. The digital spying, your divorce attorney may say, will involve your posts, tweets, and photos about anything remotely indicating negative behavior. Your former spouse can use a posted photo wherein you’re having drinks with friends, and suggest you may have a problem with alcohol. The same goes for any posted messages about feeling down, implying you’re emotionally unstable as a parent.
Social media’s influence doesn’t just come after your marriage breaks down. It can even cause its end.
The Journal of Cyberpsychology, Behavior and Social Networking published a study revealing that people who use Facebook for more than an hour were more likely to go through relationship conflicts. The conflicts could also lead to a breakup or divorce. This correlation indicates that social media can provoke jealousy and arguments, as couples tend to spy on another and rekindle past relationships.
Your Digital Footprint
Does this mean you should cease all online activities, and live completely offline? You don’t have to go completely offline since most communications today occur digitally. And social media does connect you to your family who lives far away.
Instead, keep your social media accounts clean. Don’t count on privacy settings to keep your spouse away from snooping either. He or she may have other people looking at your posts.
You may also consider deactivating your account for a certain period or restricting your online activities. You should also consult your lawyer about deleting certain information. Your lawyer may tell you about spoliation, which is evidence or information destroyed or altered during discovery. You may think you’re trying to improve your case by removing old posts or photos, but you may make it worse.
What you post or send digitally can and will be used against you in a divorce. Think before you press “enter.” And maintain a strong case come negotiation time with your former spouse.