It may be true that what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.
In a divorce proceeding, however, what is said on social media can well end up being used against you in your divorce proceeding.
My stock advice to all of my clients is simple: When you are going through a divorce, don’t use social media to say anything negative about your soon-to-be ex-spouse. The reason is simple: Negative comments that you put in a Facebook update or announce in a tweet can be used against you. No matter how angry, hurt, or frustrated you might feel, social media is no place to air your grievances.
The rationale for the caution I give to clients is three-fold:
1.) Social Media Can Be Introduced as Evidence
If your divorce ends up in a courtroom, anything you’ve put on social media can be introduced as evidence against you by your spouse’s attorney. Such evidence can be used to persuade an evaluator or Judge that you are unwilling to co-parent and should not be granted sole or joint custody. Most judges take a very dim view when one – or both – spouse airs their grievances on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or any similar site. Air them privately to close friends you trust, with siblings, or when you meet with me. You may think that you are hurting your ex, but, inadvertently, you might be hurting your own case.
In fact, expressing your frustrations, grievances, and hurt might be best left to your phone or in-person meetings with me. Not only do professional standards require me to keep your secrets, nothing we discuss can be used by your spouse because of the confidential nature of the attorney-client relationship. In other words, your spouse’s lawyer is barred from even asking, “Did you discuss this with your lawyer?”
2.) Your Employer Could See It
Your employer might read the comments. Many companies audit the Facebook pages and other social media used by employees. The higher your position in a business, the more askew your boss might look at duking it out on Twitter with your spouse. More than one promising career has come to an abrupt end because of an ill-considered post on social media during a divorce.
3.) Your Children May See What You Wrote
This is as important as the other reasons, your children or their friends might see the comments. Whether your kids are pre-schoolers or teens well along in high school, in all likelihood your divorce is very hard on them emotionally, even if they don’t say anything to you or your spouse. Don’t let a hastily written and angry comment on social media upset them further, or result in their thinking poorly of their other parent. Kids should be allowed to have a good relationship with both parents if it is in their best interests; don’t allow your own pain to inadvertently increase theirs.
If you do happen to give in to temptation and begin to type a nasty remark about your spouse on your Facebook page, before hitting “Post,” stop and ask yourself two questions: Will the kids react positively if they see it? Do you want to have this Facebook update spoken out loud by your spouse’s attorney in court in an attempt to prove you are a uncooperative co-parent at best or abusive at worst?
Almost always, the answer is ‘no.’