As our online activity becomes increasingly central to our lives, the relationship between divorce and social media becomes ever more complex and problematic. Since the social media boom in 2006, the number of people getting divorce has increased. Social media has now been argued to be the cause of 1 in 7 divorces.
In a recent study of 2,000 married people, social media was found to be a cause of arguments amongst married couples. 17% said arguments occurred on a daily basis because of social media use. The causes of these arguments ranged from posting of inappropriate pictures, contact with ex-partners and sending secret messages. 1 in 20 even complained about their partner not posting any pictures of them together as couple.
Another reason social media is troublesome is the insecurities it creates among relationships. 58% of the participants claimed to know their partners log-in details, in most cases without their partner's knowledge. The most common reason for checking their partners accounts was to find out who they were going out with and if they were being truthful about who they talk to on their account. While, 14% admitted to checking purely to find if their partner was being unfaithful.
In addition to the problems in the relationships social media also promotes the “keeping up with the Joneses” attitude. With the current trend of posting fitness pictures, married couples are now pressuring each other more than ever to look like the people they see on social media. This attitude has contributed to husbands even threatening to leave their wives if they do not keep their toned physiques.
Using Social Media Whilst Getting a Divorce
Social media can also be problematic whilst getting a divorce. It has become increasingly popular for people to take to social media and have a ‘rant’ about the problems they are having. Unless you are prepared for the possibility that your posts could be used in court then divorce and social media should be kept as separate as possible during proceedings.
In America 81% of divorce attorneys said they have seen an increase in the relationship between divorce and social media. There has also been an increase in the UK. Commenting on this increase Andrew Newbuy noted;
“Five years ago Facebook was rarely mentioned in the context of a marriage ending, but now it has become common place for clients to cite social media use, or something they discovered on social media, as a reason for divorce.”
Therefore, it is important to remember if you do not want a judge to see it, or for it to be read out in a courtroom, then do not write it.
Some helpful tips for using social media when getting a divorce:
Your social media is public, your family and children can see what you post. Think before you post, is it going to come back to hurt you? Is it going to damage your relationship with someone significant in your life? If you are in doubt, do not post.
This could be classed as destruction of evidence if comments have already been used for evidence.
Do not use social media to discuss your divorce proceedings. Getting a divorce is a sensitive issue and where possible should remain in private. Try not to make a private issue a public affair. You may think people care, however, they may just enjoy gossiping and find your problems entertaining.
Change your privacy settings so only connections can see your posts. This way only people you want to see your post can. However, this does not mean you can forget Tip 1.
The best way of dealing with social media during a divorce is to not use it. Everything you post could be used to your detriment in divorce proceedings. Therefore, if you do not post there is nothing to use.
The Family Law team at Wildings Solicitors has 30 years of experience acting for clients in divorce matters. If you are going through a relationship breakdown and are considering getting a divorce, contact us today for practical and professional advice.