Social media and separation

From Facebook to Twitter, social media is here to stay. Millions of people share the milestones in their lives on social media. From a promotion to the birth of a baby, many happy moments have been shared with the cyber world.

Happy moments are always honoured. Yet, life is far from perfect and many social media users choose not to sanitise what they share, believing posts, tweets and pictures should represent reality. The lows as well as the highs of life. Indeed, an honest post, sharing the pain of human emotion may well prove an empowering process, culminating in personal catharsis.

While a carefully worded post, announcing a divorce, may work for some, downloading dirty laundry is an entirely different matter. In recent years, social media has become a contentious and influencing factor in many separations. Pages of Facebook posts are often cited and used as incriminating evidence in a case. When experiencing a separation, therefore, it’s crucial to consider the potential consequences and pitfalls of sharing it on social media.

Inevitably, whether a separation is amicable or acrimonious, emotions will always run high, with either one party or both struggling to come to terms with the change in circumstances. If a separation is hostile, therefore, it would take very little to ignite an already incendiary situation.

Angry, online outbursts can negatively affect the circumstances of a separation and never more so, than if children are involved. If your ex-partner, for example, wanted to relocate to an alternative, remote residence with the children, posting hateful abuse online would undoubtedly weaken your claim that the children should not be removed from the immediate area. Taunting your ex-partner online with a torrent of torrid comments will only serve to create a viable reason why that person can and should no longer live locally.

Sharing online can provide compelling and damaging counter-evidence to a case, effectively resulting in settlement suicide. While everyone likes to shout about and share exciting experiences, it’s important to consider the potential impact of your online image. If you are seen flaunting financial gain online, whether real or imagined, pleading poverty is unlikely to be well-received when it comes to calculating a separation settlement. Even if any financial gain is perceived rather than actual, flaunting it on Facebook will not support your situation.

It’s equally important to avoid posting negative emotional comments. Throwaway statements about feeling down or depressed can easily be construed as an indication of unbalanced behaviour. Similarly, photographic evidence of your presence somewhere inappropriate or unplanned could be used as evidence of unreasonable behaviour.

During a separation or divorce, it may be sensible to steer clear of social media altogether. However, if avoiding online interaction seems unthinkable, then it’s essential to always be mindful of the broader consequences of sharing on social media. Pausing for thought before you post will help to avoid additional and unforeseen complications during what is often already an emotional and traumatic time.