Divorce in the age of social media: What spouses should know

This article looks at the impact social media has on divorce rates and on divorce negotiations themselves.

It seems as though just about everyone nowadays, from young children to grandparents, have a social media account. While for most people social media is an innocent, if somewhat addictive, way to connect with friends and family, for those going through a divorce social media could have serious legal and financial repercussions. Below is a look at the impact social media has on marital wellbeing and, more importantly, how it can affect the ultimate outcome of a divorce.

Does social media cause divorce?

As CNBC reports, a recent study found a strong correlation between social media use and higher divorce rates. The study's authors looked at divorce rates and Facebook registration rates in each state. They found that a 20 percent increase in Facebook enrollment correlated to 2.18 to 4.32 percent increases in divorce filings. While correlation does not prove causation, the study's authors pointed out that further studies could show that social media usage does indeed have a negative impact on the quality of a marriage.

How social media impacts divorce

What may be more interesting for those going through a divorce is how social media may impact their divorce case. It is important to remember that much of what gets published on social media could ultimately be used against one in a divorce case. For example, a picture of one spouse on an expensive Caribbean vacation could be used by the other spouse as proof that that spouse is being dishonest about his or her financial resources.

As WTOP News points out, people who are going through a divorce need to be extremely careful about what they post to social media. In fact, simply getting off of social media entirely, at least until the divorce plays out, is usually the best advice. If that option is not realistic, however, then the next best thing is to increase one's privacy settings, be very careful about who sees what posts (especially since divorcing spouses often have mutual friends on social media), and to resist the urge to brag about events or items that could be misconstrued by the other spouse in such a way as to damage one's chances of a favorable divorce settlement. Most importantly, attorney-client communications should never be shared on social media.

Getting help with divorce

Divorce is a big deal not just because it represents the end of an important relationship, but because it is the start of a new and, hopefully, better life. However, the best way to ensure success after a divorce is to talk to a divorce attorney today. An attorney can help clients negotiate a divorce settlement that best sets them up for their post-divorce life and they can also give them invaluable advice about how to protect one's best interests in those negotiations.