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Social Media: Impacts both Marriages and Divorce Proceedings
Esther R. Donald | October 14, 2016
Over the last several years, there have been many studies that have outlined the negative impact of social media on relationships and marriages. Consistently studies have shown that individuals who frequently accessed social media sites are more likely to experience conflict with their partners. The studies also demonstrate that there is a link between social media use and a decrease in the quality of a marriage. Therefore, a focus on your social media friendships can quickly erode real-life communication and connection with your spouse. It logically follows that social media becomes an issue in divorce actions. In the past several years, lawyers have seen an increase in the number of cases using social networking evidence in divorce actions. According to Huffington Post, a survey of 2,000 married people in Britain indicated that a spouse’s questionable social media activity played a part in one out of seven divorce filings.
Social Media and Marriage
While social media can be a great tool for your relationships with other individuals, it is worth considering the following advice to minimize its negative impact on your marriage:
- Do not use social media as a support system: Close personal friends are individuals that you can trust. However, many of your online friends may be people who are not close friends with which you can trust your personal issues. You therefore should consider your social media audience before sharing personal information. Complaints about your spouse should not be shared on social media sites.
- What you don’t post can be as important as what you do: Right or wrong, a lack of mention can be interpreted by your spouse as a sign of neglect or disinterest. For example, a spouse looking at your posts may notice that you say “I” rather than “we” when discussing daily events in which the other spouse was involved. Or, you may post frequent pictures of yourself and your children online, but none of you and your spouse. These kinds of behaviors can lead to your spouse feeling left out or excluded.
- Monitor the amount of time you spend on social media. An excessive amount of time spent on social media sites and frequent contact with the same person can lead to jealousy and distrust by your spouse. Make sure to spend more time interacting with your spouse than you do monitoring what others are doing on social media.
- Expect the unexpected with online security: The privacy options in social media are prone to change and they are difficult to use effectively. Even tech-savvy individuals should proceed with extreme caution. Assume that more people can view your posts than you expect and that those posts may appear on the pages of other individuals, as well.
Social Media Provides Strong Evidence in Divorce Proceedings
Once a divorce is underway, you should expect a high level of personal scrutiny by your spouse and his/her attorney. During this process, your social media activity will be investigated. As such, you should be mindful that anything you have posted in the past, or post during the divorce proceeding, will be discoverable by your spouse and his/her attorney. The following are a few points to think about if you are considering filing for a divorce:
- Censor your social media activity and do not post anything that you would not want to be an issue in court. For example, do not post information or photographs of your date with another person or drinking alcohol.
- Ask your friends to not post embarrassing comments or photos of you online.
- Again, do not expect that your posts will be private, even if you think you have mastered every nuance of social media security. Married couples have numerous mutual friends, some of who might have divided allegiances or their own motives. It only takes one such friend to leak information to your spouse.
Get Legal Advice Pertaining to Social Media Use
Even if you are just considering divorce, the attorneys at GoransonBain Ausley make extra effort to help you understand the potential complications that social media can create. Contact our Dallas divorce lawyers to learn more about these issues.