The Dangers of Social Media in Your New Jersey Divorce

A young woman is on the cell phone textign and driving with a road in the windshield for an danger or distracted driving concept.

Social media has become part of our daily lives.  People reach out to old friends and new through Facebook, keep the world updated on their lives through Twitter, and make business connections on LinkedIn.   While technology enables us to share our lives with the world within the push of a button, there is a downside to instant online connections.  A study at the University of Missouri found a correlation between Facebook use and relationship problems.  According to one of the researchers, “Facebook-induced jealousy may lead to arguments concerning past partners . . . Excessive Facebook users are more likely to connect or reconnect with other Facebook users, including previous partners, which may lead to emotional or physical cheating.”  Not only can Facebook contribute to the breakup of a marriage, but also the benefits of social media become liabilities during divorce.  According to the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, 81% of the nation’s top divorce attorneys have seen an increase in the number of cases using social networking, with Facebook as the primary source of this type of evidence.

Protect Yourself

Since electronic communications may be used against you in your divorce, it is important to take steps to protect yourself, even if you’ve already sent that embarrassing (and potentially harmful) photo, or a nasty online message.

  • Don’t use social media to express your opinions about your relationship or your spouse. This is good advice even for those who are not going through a divorce.  Your words live on, even after you have deleted them.
  • Keep in mind that even positive comments or photos can have a negative impact. The picture of your spouse taking the kids hiking, or the comment about his or her “great job coaching the little league team” can be used as ammunition by the other side in a custody dispute.
  • Do you and your spouse have mutual friends? That picture of you at the party last Saturday may not be especially flattering.  Mutual friends may post photos of you or make comments about you that could cast you in a negative light.  Even when you are not on social media, remember that many other people are.  Make smart choices when at social gatherings.
  • Consider disabling your social media accounts during the divorce. When it comes to text messages and emails, use them for sparingly (unless in a work-related capacity).  Almost anything you say can be misconstrued.

Understand How Words (and Images) Can be Used Against You

It is difficult to predict what will happen in the course of your New Jersey divorce, but even a divorce that begins with little to no drama can devolve into an all out war when issues such as finances and custody are raised.  If you are seeking alimony, photos of you on an expensive Caribbean vacation can be used to show a lack of need.  If there are accusations of adultery, status updates and comments may be used to show where you were (and with whom) on a particular date.   Seeking full custody?  You may not want the judge to see photos of you in compromising situations.  There is very little privacy protection when it comes to social media accounts.  Simply adjusting your privacy settings may not be enough to protect you in your divorce.

Speak With An Ocean County Divorce Attorney

If you are going through a divorce and you reside in Monmouth or Ocean County,  and are concerned with how social media may impact your case, contact the offices of Villani & Deluca today at (732) 965 -3350.  During your free consultation, our attorneys can sit down with you and advise you on how to proceed to protect yourself until the divorce is finalized.