Be careful what you post on social media and other online sites during and after divorce! Your lawyer may have given you some guidelines, but mistakes can cost you in shared time with your children.
In one case, a man in a small town posted on a dating site that he was single and without children. The fact that he was married with two sons seemed to have eluded him. After his wife had initiated a divorce, a family friend spotted his ad and told the wife about it, The wife asked for a copy and then handed that out to both collaborative attorneys, the sons’ new therapist, and the custody evaluator. The father ended up with limited visitation and no overnights. Misrepresenting yourself can backfire badly: both in terms of your divorce and custody negotiations and for anyone you might meet through a seriously dishonest dating profile. The safest course is to stay off dating sites until your divorce is finalized.
Don’t Use Social Media to Have Public Fights with Your Ex
It is not fair for children to have their parents battle each other in such a public arena through social media. When older offspring have access to their parents’ social media sites, it is upsetting to read nasty remarks about their other parent. If you are the spouse who is the recipient of online vitriol, do not go out for revenge. Let your lawyer deal with this issue in your proceedings. Before posting anything that could be controversial, think about how your child would feel if they saw your post.
A former husband posted that the “Ice Queen” was ruining his Christmas. Someone inquired who the Ice Queen was and he replied, “My ex, of course.” This man commented on Facebook that his ex-wife was unable to move on with her life like he did. Since his former wife doesn’t visit his social media sites, a friend told her about his remarks; she asked for a screen-capture to keep in case this ever escalates. If this happens to you, keep a file of any disparaging comments – especially if your ex is vengeful and may try to punish you for perceived transgressions. When you feel the urge to vent, talk to a friend or counselor; do not do it online.
What Would Your Boss Think of Your Social Media Pages?
Keep in mind that many bosses check employees’ social media pages – particularly for someone they’ve recently hired, or if they receive a tip that an employee is making highly inappropriate posts. One woman really enjoyed her job and co-workers, but was not that keen on her boss. She worked in a charity shop and had a few drinks with her workmates one evening. Unfortunately, she posted some derogatory remarks regarding her boss on Facebook while a little tipsy. Some time passed and she forgot about them. Her boss discovered these unkind comments and she was promptly fired. Potential employers sometimes visit social media sites of job candidates too.
Stay off your former spouse’s social media pages. Do you want to see photos of your ex and new partner on their world cruise? If you have a family member who sided with your ex, do you want to read their loving comments to him or her? No. It is not therapeutic to be keeping up with what your ex is doing by looking at their social media. Visiting your ex’s pages regularly also makes it more challenging to move on. If something important happens, someone will inform you.
Are Your Friends’ Socia Media Pages Beyond Reproach?
You may be selective about what goes on your social media pages, but that does not ensure that your friends do, too. They may be posting party pictures from birthday bashes. Looking like the party girl or a drunk in the pub is not going to help you seem like a responsible parent when negotiating child custody. Keep in mind that your friends may not have strict privacy settings (allowing third parties to access your information) or they may share intimate details about you with their pals, who make everything on their pages public. A good rule of thumb is to post, or allow friends to post, only what would be okay for your family to view. You do not want a spiteful ex to get ammunition from your social media pages to use against you.