Social networking is a convenient and an easy way to stay connected to family and friends, near and far. So much that it seems that the days of letter writing and weekly phone calls are on the decline.
Most personal information and news is shared with a click of mouse. Anyone, who has an account on a social networking site, might agree that some fellow users share personal information that is sometimes a little “too personal”.
Whether you are given the news of an engagement or divorce, chances are you got it from social media before word of mouth. Every now and then, one’s activity on a social networking site, like Facebook, causes divorce.
Perhaps, that married co-worker, who shared too many lunches with his receptionist and commented on her Facebook wall to many times, made his wife suspicious of his infidelity; the last straw in an already failing marriage?
Whether you’re considering a divorce or are going through the process, remember social etiquette and how some things might be best left in private.
Social Etiquette and Protecting Your Divorce
Divorce can be an emotionally, mentally and financially draining process, leaving many soon-to-be divorced individuals needing support from family and friends.
However, too often they seek support through social media, sometimes sharing private or slanderous information about their marital status.
While it is understandable to feel angry, remorseful, and even victimized by a divorce, voicing negative and damaging opinions about your soon-to-be ex can end up harming you and your divorce hearing.
Did you have a bad day at work, only to return home to an empty home and five voicemails from your attorney and soon-to-be ex? Venting on Facebook can seem harmless and cathartic, but your posts can do more harm than good and more often than not, the damaging effects are irreversible making it possible to be used as evidence in your divorce.
81% of lawyers say they have used or faced evidence from social networking sites where battling spouses make their grievances and “hate and smear campaigns” a little too public.
The next time you are tempted to verbally bash your spouse online or try to recruit mutual friends to side with you, think about your divorce and what you want out of it and how you’re seemingly harmless, yet selfish actions can make things very difficult for you. Think before you post.
- Are you willing to admit to everything you say and do on social networking sites? You wrote something about your ex, portraying her in “not-so-nice” light. You wrote the post after you had a couple of drinks and realized that it was a little too mean (even for your marital situation) and deleted it the next day. Unfortunately, your soon-to-be ex’s sister saw the post, took a screen shot, and sent a copy to your ex who will most likely give it to her lawyer. You’d like to deny that you ever said such things, but it’s best to be honest. Better yet, it’s best to think before you write.
- Do you know how to use privacy settings and which friends to trust? While you’re better off getting together with close friends and family, face to face, to talk with them about your divorce, you may be one of those individuals who finds more comfort in hiding behind your computer screen. If you choose to keep using a social media site, make sure you utilize your privacy settings and only let friends and family who you really trust see the posts. Additionally, don’t try to make friends side with you by using social media.
- If you have children, do you want them to know what you are saying and doing? When you were married to your spouse, you were probably extra careful to keep your children from hearing arguments and the like. Even if your children are too young to have a social networking profile, damaging information can get back to them. Think about it. Social media is like gossip, but it spreads much faster and can be much more damaging. Your children are not responsible for your divorce and they should not be in the middle of it either. Your carelessness on Facebook could ultimately affect the personal and legal relationship (i.e. custody) you have with your children.
Don’t make the pain of your divorce public. Depending on reasons behind your divorce, your lack of social etiquette on a social networking site may be the reason you are getting a divorce. Are you willing to lose it all just so you can publicly slander your soon-to-be ex-spouse?
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Andrew Miller is an experienced social media expert, author, and co-founder of the tech startup ScanandBan.com. He has worked in marketing for over a decade and finds his passion in bringing concepts to life. As a Socialpreneur, he is an agent for positive social change through both his writing and business endeavors.