26th Aug 2019
Divorces are incredibly challenging in and of themselves. There’s the fear of the unknown, the difficulty of forging a new routine without your spouse, the financial burden of going from a two-income household to that of a single-earner. Multiply all this by 100 if you have children. But if divorce has always been a shaky situation to undergo, going through a divorce in the digital age is downright Richter-scale worthy. With the pitfalls of oversharing and being overshared on social media lurking behind every click, it’s critical to make carefully calculated choices when it comes to your online personality. Here are 7 things to remember when it comes to what you post (and don’t post) during your divorce:
- Halt your use of social media until your divorce is finalized. You don’t have to delete your profile—in fact, you should not delete your profile as that may constitute spoliation of evidence (ask your attorney!)
- CHANGE YOUR PASSWORDS. Not just to your Facebook and Instagram, but to every single element of your life that requires a password (even your Amazon account). Furthermore, it’s a good idea to take a physical interpretation of this tip and change anything that requires a lock or a code (think gym lockers, keyless entry to your vehicle, etc.).
- If you’re unable to halt your social media usage, make certain to avoid posting anything that might be construed as negative about your soon-to-be ex or ex’s family/friends. Resist the urge to slam anyone or vent through social media. Consider investing in an old-school journal for these purposes or even seek counseling from a trusted professional. If you have children, carefully monitor their social media usage as well. After all, as their guardian, you can absolutely be held accountable for what they say online.
- With any post you do decide to launch into the internet via social media, THINK LIKE A LAWYER. How could this post possibly be construed? Anything that is remotely questionable, illegal, or could be considered immoral is completely off limits (that means nothing about dating, gambling, drinking, drugs, being “a savage,” etc.). Additionally, make sure you’re not tagged in any photos that include alcohol consumption, drug use, or any other questionable behavior. Remember, you control the narrative of who you are as a person or parent, not social media. A good rule of thumb is to imagine the most old-fashioned, conservative person you know. If that person would even bat an eye at your social media content, make sure it doesn’t see the light of day until all legal proceedings are completely finalized.
- Change your privacy settings to maximum security. Do not allow yourself to be tagged in other people’s photos or profiles. Remember, you should never assume that anything you say online is truly private—even with your profile set to a maximum-security setting.
- Find out what’s already online when it comes to you. Google and Bing yourself. Do it with and without quotations. Try searches including your middle name as well. Keep your attorney abreast of everything and anything you might find so he/she is aware of the situation.
- Remember, social media networks aren’t the only things out there that can store your info and track your behavior. All of the devices that information can be stored on should be carefully maintained. Your ex and the opposing counsel can find a wealth of information on your home computer, laptop, cellphone, tablet, e-mail, and even internet search profiles. Be aware of anything that might be synched up to “the Cloud” to keep yourself protected.
With Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter, and any/all other social media platforms, when in doubt, leave it out. If you’re unsure about how to handle your social media presence in the midst of your divorce, contact the team at Semmes Law here or call 251-317-0117.