The emergence of social media has had a profound influence on our society. Global news, public health awareness, academic opportunities, professional networking, marketing, and social interactions are all examples of the positive impacts of social media. In contrast, there are occasionally detrimental effects, including a correlation between social media usage and marital discord, with some marriages ending in divorce. Research supports that excessive time spent on social media negatively impacts romantic relationships and can foster jealousy, mistrust, and provide easy access and opportunities for infidelity. For those that are in the process of a divorce, their personal lives may be seriously scrutinized by their spouse and the opposing attorney. Information discovered in social media is admissible as evidence in court for a divorce proceeding, with possible impacts on the divorce settlement.
Child custody, parenting plans, alimony, or marital settlement agreements are at risk in any of the following circumstances:
• Posts or photos on your social media page that can be interpreted as allowing children to engage in risky behavior, or posts of a parent smoking or drinking in the presence of their children can imply that they are unfit and can ultimately hurt them in court.
• While you may be representing yourself as having limited income and assets when providing full financial disclosure to the court, posting on social media about extravagant or reckless spending may suggest that you are hiding assets.
• You may not be a social media “friend” with your spouse, but you probably have “friends” in common, so it is likely that your posts are being shared. And some “friends” may suddenly decide to align with your spouse and bait you to post information that may be detrimental to your divorce settlement.
• Private messages can be acquired and used as evidence in a divorce proceeding. It is best to avoid discussions about your spouse or details about your divorce case, either publicly or privately on social media, as these can be exposed and used against you.
• Digital infidelity, such as flirtatious chatting, sending inappropriate photos, or making plans for a physical encounter using social media, may be used as evidence that you have crossed marital boundaries.
Social Media Clauses in Pre-Nuptial and Post-Nuptial Agreements
It is becoming common for couples to create guidelines and boundaries for social media usage in prenuptial and postnuptial agreements. Examples of this may be a clause to address the topics that are permitted to be discussed on social media, the amount of time spent on social media, or the pictures or posts that may be shared about the family. These social media clauses are frequently created with a goal to protect the reputation of the family. Alternatively, the owner of a high-profile business may want to ensure their spouse is not posting items that could offend their clients or diminish their success.
Attorney Frank P. Remsen is Committed to Providing the Highest Level of Service
If you are seeking a divorce, it is essential that you discuss social media usage with an experienced attorney that understands the issues that may impact your future. The Law Offices of Frank P. Remsen, P.A., is a divorce and family law firm, with the goal to protect what matters to you most. We offer compassionate representation for men and women that are seeking to effectively resolve their divorce. We have four convenient locations in Lake, Seminole, and Orange Counties. Contact us at 352-243-1247 for a free initial consultation.