Social media can be your worst enemy at the best of times, let alone mid-divorce. But you can also use it your advantage.o
If you are about to start divorce proceedings or are already involved in a high-value divorce, consider carefully how you use social media. If you are addicted to putting every last detail of your life on Facebook, Twitter or similar, STOP and seriously consider whether to close your account.
There are several ways posts could be used against you. Imagine you post after a night out with a new partner – a photo or comment is ideal for use by a private investigator to try and prove adultery. This may, however, be the least of your worries.
The issue of the grounds for the divorce pale into insignificance once the issues of the children and financial issues are underway. Social media may damage your case within these proceedings unless they are treated with care.
An application in respect of your children demands perfect parenting to prevent your spouse using even the smallest thing against you. Imagine that in the heat of the moment and in exasperation you post a disparaging comment about your spouse. You need to convince the court that you accept your son or daughter should have a good relationship with both parents and that you will actively encourage that, which is a far more difficult argument to run when attached to your spouse’s statement there is a copy of your most recent post setting out what you really think of him or her.
When it gets to the financial issues, the effect of posts and photographs appearing on Facebook can be even more damaging. Imagine you are running a case suggesting a need predicated on the fact that you are not working yet, but your Facebook page shows you are about to form a new business or have even come into a substantial inheritance recently. Even if this information is not proof or perhaps not even true, the difficulty is that it sows the seed of doubt which then makes it more difficult to settle.
How to use to your advantage
So can you use social media to help you? The answer is easy. The chances are that your spouse is guilty of exactly the same conduct, so gather what information you can. It may now be frowned upon by the courts for you to go through your spouse’s financial papers without his consent but there is currently no such restriction on access to their Facebook pages. That information is out there for all to see and use.
Divorced years ago?
Do not be fooled into thinking that just because your divorce was concluded several years ago you need not worry. If you still pay maintenance, resist the temptation to post anything which might suggest you have come into money perhaps by way of inheritance. That information will lead to an application for an increase and possibly an application to capitalise (a backdoor way of seeking a second lump sum).
In summary, during and post-divorce, social media could be your worst enemy unless you remain in complete control and monitor not only your own posts but also those of your friends. Privacy is key to ensuring that damaging information is not in the public domain.