Contributed by Kate Haakonsen.
Before you post anything on social media, it’s always a good idea to consider whether your post might be seen by someone you would regret. This is certainly true if your marriage or relationship is troubled, you are thinking about, or actually going through, a divorce or your former spouse or partner might be upset by your post and do something which would cause you trouble.
It’s more difficult to bargain with someone who’s hurt. Here are a few examples of posts that can go wrong:
· You post a romantic selfie with your new honey before your spouse even knows you’re thinking about a divorce.
· During a custody dispute you post a photo of yourself drinking at a party surrounded by empty bottles and glasses. Your spouse has been complaining that you drink too much for a responsible parent and here’s the proof.
· Your co-parent tends to worry about letting the kids do anything “dangerous.” During your time with the kids you post photos of them riding around gleefully on ATVs, or bungee jumping, or posing at the edge of a cliff… You get the idea.
· Right after filing a motion to reduce your alimony or child support, you post a photo of your brand-new sports car or your great vacation photos at a luxury destination.
· Before your ex knows you plan to remarry, you post photos of your wedding, with the kids as flower girls!
· You aren’t even on social media but your new girlfriend posts all sorts of fun pictures of the two of you which someone keeps sharing with your wife.
Even if you think you’re being careful about your privacy settings, you probably don’t know who can see your posts or who will share them. When relationships end, there are always friends and family with mixed feelings or divided loyalties. And the way things spread on social media, your posts can get to the wrong eyes accidentally. It can be much more difficult to bargain or co-parent with someone whose feelings are hurt. Information you didn’t intend to share with your ex can cause you a lot of trouble you would have rather lived without.
So before you post, pause to consider how this could go wrong and then ask yourself how important it is for you to share this information with the world. You could save yourself a lot of aggravation, grief, stress and even money with a little discretion.
If you have any questions about this topic, please contact Attorney Kate Haakonsen.