Billions of people use social media. And whether you use it to connect with family around the world or to raise awareness for your business or a cause you believe in, the way you interact online can affect your life offline.
For instance, if you are going through a divorce, your social media behaviour could influence the outcomes of various divorce-related legal matters.
Social media and child custody
As a parent, bad-mouthing your ex or harassing others related to the divorce online can make you appear vindictive and impulsive. You can come across as unwilling to cooperate with the other parent, which could adversely affect you in child custody matters.
Further, if you share pictures or statuses that depict you doing illegal things or taking your children places you shouldn’t be, you could face increased scrutiny.
Social media and financial agreements
Many people use social media to make themselves look happier, healthier or more successful than they may actually be. While this may seem harmless, doing so during a divorce could have costly ramifications.
If you hope to collect spousal support, for instance, or want to argue against equal property division, your social media data could reveal information that makes those scenarios unlikely. Pictures or status updates of you on vacations, making significant purchases or spending money on a new partner could show – or appear to show – that you are not in the financial situation in which you might claim to be.
Social media and emotional well-being
During difficult times, people often turn to social media as a distraction or outlet to relieve stress. In some cases, this behaviour is innocuous. People may just want to connect with friends, read something funny or interact with a group of people going through a similar situation.
However, social media can be harmful. It can make people feel inadequate, jealous or lonely; it can give the false impression of anonymity, enabling people to do or say things they never would in real life. Under these circumstances, social media can prove to be more toxic than people expect.
Considering all the ways social media could make life more complicated during a divorce, you should use it carefully or take a break from it altogether. There are already enough challenges during a divorce; engaging in ill-advised behaviour online can only make things more difficult.