How to Handle Social Media During Your Divorce


For many people going through the stress of a divorce, it can feel natural to reach out to friends and family for support, connection, and commiseration. Doing so through social media channels, however, can be a dicey prospect. Before posting to social media during a divorce, you should carefully consider the potential consequences and pitfalls.

Part of the reason why divorce is so stressful is because your decisions during that period have a lasting impact on your future. The same is true of what you decide to post on social media during your divorce. While posting photos of your dog or your dinner may feel innocent and inconsequential in the course of your normal life, during a divorce even seemingly benign posts can impact the outcome of your divorce.

What You Say Online Can Be Used Against You

When using social media during a divorce, it’s important to keep in mind that whatever you say or do online can be used as evidence against you in court. Even seemingly innocuous posts can be used to discredit your character, make you seem like an unfit parent, or give the impression that you spend extravagantly, for instance. Keeping in mind that your social media presence can end up in the courtroom during your divorce, here are 5 tips for how to safely use social media during your divorce:

#1. Change Your Passwords

Many spouses share passwords during their marriage. However, even if you are relatively sure that your spouse doesn’t know your passwords, changing them should be one of the first steps you take when you begin your divorce process. This goes for all your accounts – social media and otherwise.

By the same token, if you share accounts with your spouse (email, social media, Apple ID), now is the time to create your own account or sever your connection to that shared account. (Keep in mind that if you share a family Apple ID, your spouse may be able to track your movements.) Be sure that you have your own separate email account and that your text messages are secure. It’s vital that any communications between you and your divorce attorney are confidential.

#2. Don’t Post Negatively About Your Ex

It’s very natural to feel the need to vent about the person who is, in your view, making your life difficult. Everyone needs to have safe forums to speak honestly to a supportive audience during a divorce, but social media isn’t that space. No matter how valid your feelings and no matter how poorly your spouse is behaving, posting about it online can make a bad situation even worse. It is especially important that you don’t post about your legal case while it is progressing.

You should also reach out to friends and family and request that they also avoid posting negatively about your ex or posting anything about you that might be construed negatively. Taken out of context, a photo of you and your friends at a bar could be used to make you look bad in court.

#3. Don’t Rely on Privacy Settings

While you should set your privacy settings to the most restrictive possible during a divorce, you shouldn’t rely on those privacy settings. Assume that people who you don’t want to see your posts may in fact see them. Unfortunately, you also can’t assume that one of your friends might not share your posts with your ex. While you don’t need to treat your friends with suspicion, you can post with caution knowing that you can’t predict the behavior of everyone who sees your posts.

#4. Don’t Post About a New Partner

If you do choose to start dating while your divorce is pending, it’s best to delay making it public on social media until your divorce is finalized. Even if your ex is aware of your new relationship, posting about it publicly can stir up feelings of anger, resentment, and/or jealousy. Irrational or not, those feelings can make a divorce unnecessarily adversarial and complicated. It’s also best to avoid posting anything about your children and your new partner together until all matters have been resolved with your ex.

#5. Consider Temporarily Suspending Your Social Media Presence

Suspending use of your social media accounts – even temporarily – may seem extreme, but the idea is that what you don’t post can’t be used against you. Especially if you feel that it will be too difficult to avoid, for example, posting negatively about your ex or sharing about your case, it may be wiser to simply suspend your account temporarily or avoid using it altogether.

If you are going through a divorce and are unsure about how to proceed with your social media presence or are concerned about an issue that has already arisen, it is crucial that you reach out to an experienced divorce attorney as soon as possible.

At Jetton & Meredith, we are committed to helping each of our clients understand and navigate these difficult issues. Contact us online or call us at (704) 931-5535 to schedule a consultation.