Individuals who are going through a difficult or dramatic experience often turn to social media as an expressive an informative outlet. Posting online can be a way to vent one’s intense emotions. It can also help keep someone’s social acquaintances informed about their current challenges.
Unfortunately, the instinct to turn to social media during times of personal hardship can do a real disservice to those preparing for divorce or other legal issues. What someone shares on social media could damage their case and possibly lead to negative consequences during their divorce proceedings.
Some claims may constitute defamation
An individual reeling from the sudden discovery that their spouse has cheated on them or shocked by the arrival of a process server at their place of employment may post online about what happened. They may seek some emotional relief by making accusations about their spouse or blaming them for the downfall of the marriage.
Sometimes what people say on social media in the heat of the moment could constitute defamation. If someone does not have evidence of misconduct, accusing the spouse of abuse or infidelity could potentially lead to defamation claims later. Such claims could affect everything from property division to custody.
Online activity could build a spouse’s case
Certain people preparing for divorce don’t post about the divorce at all. Instead, they may try to focus on their attempts to rebuild their lives after their initial separation. Content affirming that someone has begun a relationship before the courts finalize their divorce or discussing little financial victories, like getting a promotion at work, could ultimately end up affecting the outcome of their divorce proceedings.
Some people use the social media activity of a spouse to prove their claims of misconduct that they believe could influence the terms the courts set in the divorce. Other people may try to track down affair partners and hidden assets using what people share on social media.
Even if someone joins private groups or only communicates with a few people via personal messages on social media, any online activity could be subject to the discovery process during a divorce. Additionally, people never know who might screenshot and share their online content with their spouse or others.
The safest approach to social media during a divorce or any other legal matter is to avoid social media activity, especially in relation to the divorce itself. Understanding that social media use could lead to negative divorce outcomes may help people control the impulse to overshare their struggles online.