It seems like everyone has at least one social media account these days, whether it is Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn or one of the many others. Many people even have the apps on their smartphones so that they can have access to their account at all times. Technology has made it so easy to share with anyone and everyone through social media. While this can be good at times, if you are considering or are in the process of a divorce, custody or support matter, my warning to you is stay off of social media. If this is too hard for you to do, close your accounts so that you do not have the temptation.
In a matter of seconds, your thoughts and photographs can be posted on social media. Depending upon your privacy settings, these posts may be searchable and viewed by anyone with an account. While it may feel good to say exactly what you are thinking to your spouse or the other parent of your children, your postings can come back to haunt you. Bad mouthing someone is never a good idea because it will more than likely get back to them.
While this is embarrassing in a social situation, it can be very costly when one is involved in a divorce, separation or custody matter. I have seen changes in primary custody as a result of social media postings. I have also seen one spouse receive more support and more of the marital estate in equitable distribution as a result of postings.
If you are insistent on retaining your social media accounts, block your ex and make sure to update the privacy settings so that only your “friends” can view your posts. This still will not guarantee that only your friends can view the posts since your friends can repost them for even more people to see, but it’s a start. Change your passwords regularly and make sure that they are not ones that are easily decoded. Be aware of who can view your postings. Some of your friends may be unintentionally giving your ex access to view your posts if your ex is friends with them. You also should be concerned about texting messages and photos that you would not want your ex to see as these too are easy to forward. The general rule of thumb is that if your ex should not see it, you should not be sharing on social media or via text message.
If your spouse has access to your computer, you should take precautions to protect your information there as well. For more information on this topic, read our post on Cyber Spying on a Spouse.
As you can tell, even trying to limit your exposure on social media leaves you open to potential problems, which is why it is best to stay off social media during your divorce, support and custody matters.