Getting divorced isn’t something people typically consider pleasant. The more time a couple has been together, the more complicated separating their lives becomes.
And when kids are involved, it can get very, very complicated. If you’re fighting for custody (full or partial) of your children, it’s vital to be aware that social media can be used as a weapon against you. It’s not all cute photos and connecting with high school friends; your accounts can play a serious role in the custody dispute.
Here are four ways that can happen.
1. Trash talking your soon-to-be-ex spouse
Divorces can get ugly. And while some are amicable, many are not, and a lot of hurt feelings and bitterness may surface. Taking to social media to vent these feelings might seem like a risk-free way to get things off your chest, especially if you’re no longer “friends” with your spouse.
But don’t do it. These days, family lawyers search for things like this, and attempting to “poison” your children against your spouse is a sure way to lose custody. Don’t allow anyone else to do it, either: Delete any comments your friends make that are negative toward your spouse or attack the person.
Respectfully ask your friends to refrain from using the Internet to defend you.
2. You are NOT single and ready to mingle
I’m not saying you have to be a blacklisted and single divorcee for the rest of your days. However, if you turn up on various dating sites talking about your new-found freedom and how you escaped your responsibilities, this is not the way to get custody of your children.
If you’re going to be on social dating sites, make sure you are honest about your current marital status, your children, and what you are looking for in a long-term partner (one-night stands need not apply).
3. Be careful about advertising your spending
One of the biggest issues in divorce proceedings involves money, such as how much of the assets each party gets, how much alimony one person pays out, and how much child support you owe. Child support payments are based on the payer’s income: They represent a percentage of the payer’s earnings.
Some people are less than honest when they report to the lawyers and the courts, but their social media habits show something different. Even if you are honest about what you make, if your new partner is posting photos of her new diamond bracelet or his set of Tiffany cufflinks, this can tarnish your reputation in the eyes of the court.
4. It’s not just you
Keep in mind that anyone involved with you might be investigated as well. New relationships, children, and even your parents might have their social media accounts inspected for evidence about whether you are worthy of custody of your children.
If a new girlfriend is trash talking your ex-wife, this doesn’t promise a stable home environment for the kids. Don’t be afraid to have this conversation with people in your life. Ask them to exercise restraint, and lead by example, so you can maintain a relationship with your children.
If this doesn’t work, look for a lawyer who specializes in family law and child support, who’ll tell those people to behave and make it seem more “official.” Also, not harping on your ex or fighting online will help speed the road to recovery for the entire family.