Keep In Mind These Tips To Stay Above Reproach And On The Right Side Of The Courts
Social media is an ever-growing presence in everyone’s lives, which can really affect how a divorce settlement is agreed.
It can even be the cause of relationship strain in the first place; YouGov research found that one in five people in a relationship don’t think their partners gives them enough attention, with social media being the number one distraction cited.
It’s very important to practice restraint when it comes to posting on social media during a divorce.
Family Law experts at leading national law firm Irwin Mitchell have some top tips to keep things moving forward as smoothly as possible – and to help you start afresh without being dragged into drama on social media.
Change your passwords
If your break up has been anything other than amicable, there is a risk that the temptation of peeping at your accounts could be too much for your ex.
But what if you had an open-book relationship with each other’s passwords? Our specialists say it isn’t worth the risk. “Don’t be tempted to use your ex’s passwords to log into their account,” advises Connie Smith, Family Law solicitor at Irwin Mitchell. “Not only is it likely to upset you, you could get in serious trouble with the court as your ex has a right to privacy, as do you.”
Don’t talk about court proceedings online
No matter how tempting it is, it’s crucial not to talk about your divorce, your financial arrangements, or your children online. It’s more likely than not your ex will be taking a furtive scroll through your page, and will immediately let his solicitor know if you’re sharing any information about the proceedings.
“This isn’t just likely to cause conflict between you and your ex,” Connie adds. “It’s a serious offence and you could be held in contempt of court, leading to a custodial sentence or a fine.”
Check your privacy settings
Make sure that you are only sharing your content with your friends, not the general public. For example, did you know there are several websites online where you can view people’s public Instagram stories without leaving a trace?
Connie also advises changing your settings so that friends can only tag you in posts with your permission. “You don’t want to risk being tagged in a post which could be misinterpreted,” she says. “The more locked down the settings are, the less chance there is of this happening.”
Don’t take the risk - tighten your settings so that only the people you want to see your content can.
Turn off location tracking
Apps like Snapchat routinely share your location when you post. Avoid any unwanted meetings with your ex and keep your privacy by disabling these features.
“If your ex was abusive in any way, then location tracking is a safety concern as well,” says Connie. “Some of these settings are enabled by default – even ones you might not have even thought of needing to track your location – so check all of your apps just to be safe.”
Be mindful of photos you post of your children
The issue of the sharing of children’s photographs publically online is a thorny one, and innocent photos can easily be misconstrued and allegations made.
“One of the main issues we see early on in a break up is how the kids’ lives should be shared on social media,” Connie says. “Often one parent has one idea, and the other can be completely the opposite. It can get much worse if a new partner comes onto the scene and emotions are heightened.”
Bear this in mind and send that photo to Granny and Grandad on WhatsApp, rather than sharing it on Instagram, until and unless you have an agreement in place with your ex.
Resist the temptation to bash your ex online
It is sometimes tempting to use social media as an outlet for your anger, but all this achieves is heightening the conflict between you both.
“Resist the urge to post anything about your ex, even a meme speaking generally about relationships,” Connie warns. “No matter how subtle the message, it’s just never a good idea and can really backfire when it comes to getting an agreement in place.”
Keep any new romances offline
If your new relationship is serious, then you’ll have to let your ex know about your new relationship via your solicitors when reaching an agreement about your finances. However this needs to be carefully managed by your solicitors, rather than your new partner finding out through social media.
If your ex sees photos and is hurt by them, it could lead to it being more difficult to reach an agreement about your finances or children.
“You need to weigh up the risk here,” Connie says. “Is it worth angering your partner and then dragging out the divorce for months longer out of spite, all because you wanted to show that you’d moved on?”
“Try and keep new relationships offline until the divorce and any arrangements are in place. It might feel unfair that you can’t post freely about your new life, but in the long run it’s worth minimising any potential drama.”
Social media is a part of our lives which is here to stay. During your divorce, ask yourself before every post if you would be happy for your ex, your ex’s solicitor and a judge to view the post. If there’s any doubt, delete it.
Emotions can run high during a divorce, but these tips can help you to navigate the process with dignity, ready to move through to the other side.