The dos and don'ts with social media when going through a divorce
When going through a divorce, it can be easy to be tempted to post about how we’re feeling on social media. After all, social media is part of our lives and in its best form it can be a wonderful tool to connect, inform, and entertain people. However, it also has the opportunity to cause harm, distress and hurt and be used in a vindictive, spiteful and unhealthy way. Divorce can be an incredibly emotional time for both parties involved and their families – so don’t make it any harder than it needs to be.
Here are few Dos and Don’ts of using social media, especially during divorce proceedings. Remember much of this information will be available to a court and could have a bearing on any outcome.
Dos: What to do on social media during a divorce
DO change your passwords
Be sure to take ownership of any social media accounts eg Facebook, Instagram etc. Do also change the passwords of your email accounts. Remember, whether the split is amicable or not, you do not want your partner to have access to accounts that could contain sensitive information.
The same goes for bank accounts, credit cards, music streaming services etc. There have been occasions where these have been used and manipulated in divorce proceedings.
Even if you know your partner’s passwords, do not log into their accounts. Everyone has a right to privacy and you could be in breach by doing this. Unauthorised access to your partner’s computer may be breach of the Computer Misuse Act 1990.
DO check, and if necessary change your privacy settings
Make sure that if you do post, however innocently, only your friends list sees it and you cannot be tagged into any posts without your permission.
This applies to all social media so minimise the risk on all platforms. If you work in the same organisation as your partner, also check your company’s social media policy.
DO turn off any location tracking features on apps you may use
It is a ‘feature’ of more apps than you might realise. This could cause an embarrassing and hurtful meeting or unfortunately, in more sinister circumstances, can provide your partner with your exact location from a stalking / abuse perspective.
If you are a victim of domestic abuse and continue to feel vulnerable, you can change your mobile number to avoid receiving nuisance calls or messages from them, but beware that many apps acc ess the contacts from your phone or email address. So block their number.
DO follow people and organisations that can offer help and support
Seeing how people have come through this crisis can be motivating and beneficial. There are lots of organisations and charities who can offer free guidance and support too.
Don'ts: What not to do on social media during a divorce
Don’t bad mouth your partner online
Tempting as it might be – do not bad mouth your partner online, especially if children are involved. Remember children could read and learn more than you’d like them to and be hurt or distressed by it.
This is also the case with wider family too. Remind friends and family not to post negative comments about your partner online. It can also play a big part when looking to come to an agreement with your partner. An upset partner can make things very difficult, drawn out and expensive.
Don’t share any personal data you have about your partner
As you may breach data protection laws. This includes intimate and sensitive details of the relationship.
Don’t chat about court proceedings, children or financial information
By doing so you could be in breach of legislation which could be classed as a serious offence AND anything you share online can and could be used against you by the other party.
Don’t post pictures of children you share online
This is a very emotive issue and one that comes up time and time again in proceedings. Parents often have polar opposite views on how, when and if this should happen.
Send any photos directly, not on a public platform, especially if you are aware of your partner’s objections. Posting pictures without consent can have data protection implications and affect a person’s right to a private life. Err on the side of caution.
Don’t be tempted to share a new romance on line
Thrilling as it may be, be discreet and remember that if the shoe was on the other foot, how hurtful it would be to read/see this.
More seriously, if proceedings have not yet started adultery could now be cited as a reason on the petition. Any pictures of you and your new beau together could evidence possible habitation and have a big effect on any financial settlements and child arrangements.
Don’t be tempted to stalk, follow or trail your partner
This can be exhausting, upsetting and often fruitless. Social media can be all-consuming, particularly if you are the injured party. Give yourself some time to rest and recover.
Remember – keeping things amicable is almost always the best route but if your inner calling bird is getting the better of you….take a deep breath and move away from the keyboard.
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Dipika provides clear advice from the outset. She is particularly adept in understanding the emotional complexities in matrimonial disputes and the impact this will have on reaching resolutions.