Social Media Do’s and Don’ts During a Divorce

Social Media Do’s and Don’ts During a Divorce

These days it seems almost everyone has at least one social media account. So far, in 2024 Facebook has had 3.049 billion users, Instagram has had over 2.4 billion users, Twitter (or “X”) has had 335.7 million users, and TikTok has had over 1 billion users. In my practice, evidence obtained from a social media account is collected and utilized on a regular basis. 

I advise my clients to abstain from posting on social media entirely during separation and divorce. If you would like to keep your accounts active to look at the posts made by friends and family, I have no objection. However, if abstaining from posting on social media seems impossible, before posting on social media ask yourself, “would this post make my lawyer or a judge angry or otherwise paint me in a negative light?” If the answer to that question is “yes”, avoid making the post.  

When going through a separation and divorce, here are a few social media do’s and don’ts:

  1. DO change the passwords to all of your online accounts including, but not limited to, social media and Apple ID accounts. If your ex has the password(s) to your social media account(s), they will likely have access to your inbox, direct message, or messenger conversations. They will also have the ability to see posts you have made, posts you have liked, posts you have shared, or accounts you have followed. 
  2. DO unlink your electronic devices. Often, especially with Apple products, you will have an Apple ID that is associated with multiple devices (think MacBook, iPad, iPhone, Apple Watch). The Apple ID that these devices are registered to can effectively sync all of these devices. As a result, location data and text messages and e-mails may be shared with all of those devices, including the devices that are left in the possession of your ex. This means messages with friends, family, your lawyer, and new romantic interests might be seen by your ex. If you are unsure how to unlink these devices, make an appointment with your cellphone provider or at the Apple Genius Bar. 
  3. DO be careful about the content of what you post on social media. Also be careful to block people from tagging you, or quickly untag yourself, in posts and pictures that are not appropriate in a divorce situation. While some of this might seem obvious, I cannot count the number of times an opposing party has posted the material outlined below and I have been able to find it. Some examples of things NOT to post on social media include:
  • Posts about partying and consuming alcohol;
  • Posts about using illegal drugs or being in the presence of others using illegal drugs; 
  • Posts bad mouthing your ex;
  • Posts showing your lavish and extravagant lifestyle (this is particularly relevant in cases where spousal support or child support are at issue); and
  • Posts tagging your location. Be especially careful of tagging your location at establishments that are primarily, if not exclusively, bars or gambling facilities. 
  1. DO get a separate cell phone plan that is not associated with your ex. Even if your ex cannot know the content of your text messages or telephone conversations by reviewing your cell phone records, he or she can see who you are talking to and how often you are talking to them. 
  2. DO NOT  discuss anything relevant to your divorce proceeding on social media. There is absolutely no need to post about your upcoming court date, the lies you believe your ex swore to in a pleading, your opinion of your ex’s parenting skills, or your opinions of your ex’s new significant other. Social media is not the place to air your dirty laundry, especially not during a separation and divorce. 
  3. DO NOT post anything that would suggest you are mentally or emotionally volatile. This is not the time to post on social media about your therapist and his/her treatment recommendations. It is also not the time to engage in a protracted battle with an internet troll wherein you become so enraged you appear unhinged. Remain calm and avoid confrontation and oversharing on social media.
  4. DO change your privacy settings on all of your social media accounts. Having your account visible to the public makes anything you post easier to access. However, do not assume that because your account is set to “private” your ex, or someone close to your ex, will not see your social media posts. 

If you find yourself considering or in the middle of a divorce, Routh Law is here to help. We are available to assist existing and new clients by phone, e-mail, and video conferences. Contact a member of our team today to schedule your initial consultation.

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