09 Jan Social Media & Divorce – What Not to Do
A 2014 study reported in Computers in Human Behavior, suggested a direct correlation between usage of social media and divorce. If you are facing a divorce, you know the emotional toll that it takes on you and your family. Sadly, ever since social media entered the picture, lives have been destroyed due to the misuse of these accounts. You also probably know that you should be smart about what you post online. In fact, this is good advice all the time – not just when you’re going through a divorce. But South Carolina divorce lawyers have a few other suggestions to consider if you want to keep your divorce as painless as possible.
Count To 10 Before You Post
You may recall the old adage often attributed to Thomas Jefferson, “When angry, count to 10 before you speak. If very angry, a hundred.”
The same is true of social media and divorces cases. Perhaps you stumble across a post from an ex, which depicts her on a date with the new love interest. You may be tempted to post a comment or say something offensive. Count to 10, and ask yourself this important question, “will my next action do anything to help my divorce case?” Snide, offensive remarks on social media have never helped anyone’s divorce case. Besides being petty, it will inflame tempers and raise the tension. This distracts from more important issues that your attorney may be working to resolve on your behalf.
Don’t Post About Your Divorce (or your ex)
It’s best to just avoid social media altogether, if possible. There was a time when divorcing couples paid thousands of dollars for private investigators to track down ex’s and capture damning photos or evidence that would help their cases. Today, people are posting the evidence and photos for free.
Perhaps you are fighting for an equal visitation schedule, but your ex is trying to convince the judge you have a drinking problem. You may not have had a drink in 20 years, but you can bet the first time you put a picture of yourself drinking a beer, that photo will be used to make you look like a chronic alcoholic. Moreover, it can be tempting to run down your opponent online, especially if you think you are posting privately to friends. But if you share friends, don’t be surprised when that information gets back to your spouse. In short, don’t give the other person free ammunition.
Don’t Hack Your Ex’s Account
Many couples share information during a marriage. While it may not be wise, it’s very common for spouses to know each other’s usernames and passwords. You should immediately change all login information for your e-mail, social media, and other accounts when you are considering a divorce. On the other hand, it may be very tempting to log into your spouse’s accounts to monitor behavior, posts, whereabouts, etc.
Just be aware that there are strict cybersecurity laws being written every day in this country, and unless you fully understand the legal implications of your conduct, you could easily commit a felony by just trying to check out where your spouse spent her Friday night. As a federal court in New Jersey determined, hacking into and reading someone’s social media posts (when configured to be private) violates the Federal Stored Communication Act.
If surveillance is necessary and your attorney feels it would benefit your case, it is a much better idea to hire a professional investigator who is licensed and trained to know what is legally permissible. This usually results in better information gathering and a credible witness at trial.
Get Help From A Divorce Lawyer
Before you make any serious decisions about what to do regarding social media and divorce, you should talk to a seasoned divorce lawyer who can discuss implications and provide examples from past cases. With experience comes the ability to explain how conduct may be perceived by a judge or what it could do to your case.
Contact us to schedule your consultation with one of the experienced divorce lawyers of Klok Law Firm LLC.