Social media has become irrevocably tied to modern lifestyle, and most people currently considering or dealing with divorce have at least one active social network account. While there's nothing wrong with remaining active on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or other platforms during and following your divorce, if you're hoping for an easy divorce process, take time to consider a few things related to your online profiles.
Social Media Before Divorce
Even before divorce is on the horizon, social media has an impact on a marriage. Boston University, in conjunction with other research organizations, conducted a study to review the correlation between divorce rates and Facebook use. Across all states, and in every analytical model used, the team noticed that as social media use increased, marriage quality decreased.
Does that mean social media is 100 percent at fault if your marriage is coming to an end? Not at all. It also doesn't mean that you have to forgo social media completely to have a happy relationship. This does support the fact that marriage — or divorce — and social networking are linked.
What Not to Post
While you're married, even if divorce seems likely, avoid disparaging your partner on social media or using your Facebook page to vent about your relationship. If you need to vent, confide in a trusted personal friend in private or talk to a counselor or therapist. Airing marital laundry, even to your "friends list," can make matters worse and might be used against you if you do file for divorce.
Precautions to Take if Divorce is Likely
If you're considering divorce — even if you plan to file for divorce online and expect it to go amicably — take some precautions on social media. Lockdown privacy settings and review past posts. It's true: once something's out on the internet, you can never take it back 100 percent, but you can do some damage control by removing negative, risqué or mean-spirited posts. You might also want to rethink your friend's list if you truly want an amicable divorce. Try not to give in to paranoia, but do remove anyone you think might try to instigate drama or volunteer as a "spy" for your spouse.
Social Media During Divorce
If you're already in the middle of a divorce, staying cognizant of your social media remains a good idea. If you're in a heated divorce battle, everything you say or do in an open forum such as Facebook could potentially be used against you. In such a situation, it's best to minimize social use, be extremely careful about privacy settings and aggressively cull your friends lists.
Even if things are moving forward in civil fashion, you don't want to turn your amicable divorce into a contested legal battle. That means tread lightly on social media and keeping your divorce off Facebook and Twitter.
What Not to Post
Avoid sharing all the nitty-gritty details of the divorce process. The honest truth is: your entire Facebook list doesn't need to know exactly how visitation was decided and who ended up with great-aunt's diamonds. During an amicable divorce, consider discussing when to make the announcement on social media, if at all, so neither spouse is blindsided.
Consider Agreements on Child-Related Posts
Couples with children might want to consider including an agreement about child-related social media posts in divorce paperwork. If you feel strongly about protecting the privacy of your children, talk to the other parent about limiting pictures and status updates on social media that give insight into children's personal lives. At It's Over Easy, we provide a range of templates and tools to help you cement divorce agreements via a hassle-free process.
Social Media After Divorce
If you don't have children, your social media status after a divorce is finalized is fairly free. However, might want to take the high road and avoid bashing your ex in online forums — and also because you likely still share social or professional circles online. If you went through an uncontested divorce and aren't emotionally upset by reminders, you might even keep your ex as a friend online.
When kids are part of the equation, things get a bit more complicated to maintain post divorce. You might stay connected online, especially if your kids are old enough to have accounts of their own. Whether or not your divorce was amicable, keep things civil to avoid drama, and be mindful of how your posts reflect your parenting and the lives of your children. Custody matters aren't over just because divorce papers were signed, so taking some precautions online can help you avoid returning to court in the future.