21st century divorce: the often huge impact of social media

Does it make any sense for an impending ex-spouse to willingly invite public scrutiny of his or her divorce details?

Most individuals working their way through the dissolution process in Colorado or elsewhere would likely check the “no” box next to that question.

And then a fair amount of them would immediately fire up the computer and continue with their customary behavior of posting virtually everything that is happening in their lives online.

The penchant to share is arguably a universal trait. Many people routinely confide all manner of personal information to family members and trusted friends.

But some advertise the details to a global audience, which can bode ill in any number of contexts.

Especially where divorce is concerned.

Online social media sites: a double-edged sword

Posting enthusiasts on public platforms like Facebook and Twitter have a built-in audience ready to examine their views, provided images and other displayed materials. The instant upsides of that in terms of immediacy and receptivity are certainly clear.

But so too are the potential downsides, as quickly related by the following hypotheticals.

“John” is a dad fighting for custody in a contested divorce. He vigorously rebuts his wife’s allegation that he is parentally unfit.

And then he posts a picture of himself getting high with friends.

“Jim” challenges the amount of child support he is being tasked to pay, stressing that it is onerously high and will financially break him. That is not the message received, though, by a family law judge looking at online photos of him cruising offshore waters in a pricey boat he just bought.

The point is clear, right? One recent national media article on the pitfalls of social media engagement during divorce underscores it, noting that, “There is nothing good to come from sharing details of your life on a public platform.”

Some suggestions concerning divorce-tied social media use

A short list of tips concerning online use during divorce collectively converge on this simple point: refrain.

That is, just stop. Walk away from the keyboard. And consider the following while you’re exercising restraint:

  • Changing all your online passwords (you might be taking due care online, but a third-party can mess things up for you in a hurry)
  • Pausing before you start engaging in any mass deletion of past posts (it looks bad and can arouse judicial suspicions)
  • Examining and duly monitoring your kids’ online use

The bottom line, as stressed by the above-cited article: “Social media and divorce don’t mix.”

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