It’s 2023. Oversharing on social media is the norm for so many. From proclamations of love for your spouse on your anniversary, to personal health concerns, it seems that nothing is private anymore. And that includes relationship troubles as well.
A 2014 study published in the journal Computers in Human Behavior found a correlation between increased social media usage, decreasing relationship satisfaction, and increasing divorce contemplation. So it is no surprise that those who are divorcing tend to share information about their marital strife on social media.
However, when you’re going through a divorce, you might want to think twice before clicking “POST.”
Here are some scenarios I have seen cause trouble for divorcing individuals on social media, which you should consider avoiding:
- Badmouthing Your Spouse: Social media is public. So public that one Google search could lead your children to see what you really think about their other parent. Consider the fact that you wouldn’t (or at least shouldn’t) stand in a public square in front of your estranged partner or your children and speak about your relationship difficulties. The same should be true on social media.
- Airing Grievances Concerning Your Children: While it may sound rare, public social media complaints about children’s schools, doctors, or friendships is actually more common than you would think. Maybe you’re just trying to get a pet peeve off your chest or even resolve a lingering issue. However, consider that you may be divulging private information about your children’s educational difficulties, diagnoses, or other identifiers in a way that invades their privacy and that is contrary to their best interests. It could be a move that a Court would consider in assessing the custody factors.
- Posting About Your Extravagances: Sure, you want to publicize that you’re living your best post-separation life on a yacht somewhere in the Mediterranean, but if you’re also in Court making a claim that you can’t afford to pay support, or in the alternative, that you desperately need support, perhaps think twice. While someone else may be footing the bill for these extravagances, it’s still not a great look if you’re embroiled in a fight about money. It also raises questions about money you may be receiving from other sources.
- Publicizing a New Relationship: You may just be posting about your daily goings-on with a new romantic interest, but if you are making a claim for alimony, this may be very consequential. Alimony is suspended or terminated if you’re engaging in a relationship tantamount to marriage. With engagements and marriages happening quickly post-Get in the Jewish community, flaunting a new, serious relationship could vitiate an entire alimony case, even if that relationship does not ultimately end up in marriage. Facebook evidence is gold when it comes to proving involvement in a subsequent serious relationship, so keep that in mind as you’re in your new relationship bliss.
- Post-Separation Escapades: While it is enticing to share the details of your new-found freedom with the world, refrain from posting photographs showing you out partying all night, drinking to excess, or out of the home for prolonged periods. While that could be an occasional occurrence, it may be enough for your spouse or ex-spouse to use to demonstrate that you are not spending enough time with the children and should not be granted custody as a result. It could also raise other questions about parental fitness.
Lawyers use social media to gain evidence necessary to establish facts in a case. Consider the following to lawyer-proof your social media use during a divorce or post-divorce dispute:
Take a hiatus from social media altogether if you’re going through a divorce or custody battle.
Direct your family not to post anything negative about your marriage or your spouse in a public forum. Of course, it goes without saying that you should not post anything controversial about your spouse either.
Don’t engage in discussions concerning your divorce, your spouse, or your children, even in comments sections.
Think about making your account private and removing your spouse’s name as a connection.
Change passwords and recovery emails to ensure your spouse cannot access your accounts.
As always, if you have any questions concerning social media use during a divorce, you should ask a lawyer.
Eliana T. Baer is a partner in the Family Law Practice Group of Fox Rothschild LLP. Eliana focuses her state-wide practice on representing clients in issues relating to divorce, asset distribution, support, custody, domestic violence, premarital agreements and Appellate Practice. She appears in both civil and rabbinical courts. You can reach Eliana at (609) 895-3344, or