Although most of the time there is some bitterness or anger during or after a divorce, it would be wise to consider your actions beforehand, especially when it comes to divorce and social media. Beware using Social Media when dealing with a Divorce or Separation.
Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. the list goes on and on as to the available avenues we have to express our thoughts and opinions as well as vent our frustrations. Some of these venues are completely open to public viewing and scrutiny, while others can be more secure and only available to friends and family. Most of the time these posts are not well thought out lectures on current events or properly referenced academic work, but fleeting emotional outbursts or quick short comments on current events or personal experiences. When it comes to family law, these seemingly inconsequential thoughts and snippets can be as destructive as a small bomb when presented in court.
Not every Judge in Toronto will take these social media posts to heart, and the judicial system remains mostly skeptical and unconvinced by the inclusion of such commentary or electronic communications at an interim level. However as social media becomes more popular and more and more of these types of communications are being entered as exhibits at court. It has become crucial that if you are involved in a family law dispute that you be very careful and cautious about not only what you say about the opposing party, but also what you choose to post and present to the cyber world in general.
What used to be a fun weekend at the lake picture with friends, beers and a fire pit becomes commentary of how that person chooses to skip their weekend of parenting to go party. Or that the person has a drinking problem because who knows how many of those beer cans in the background were theirs? Pictures, messaging conversations, posts and comments can all technically be entered as evidence in your family law proceedings. And not just your own postings, mutual friends, family members or connections through social media’s posts can also be tendered (to a certain extent) as evidence against you, often in cases where the issue of parenting is involved.
So what is the answer, do you shut down your accounts and delete your profile? Not necessarily the best option but some easy solutions are as follows:
- Don’t post while drinking or partying (it might be tough but hold off until the next day to think through whether or not posting that double keg stand picture is worth it or not);
- Don’t attack the other party or other people on social media (even if it’s a well-informed rant about how they were late to your child’s soccer game because they were shopping with their new girlfriend with proof, in the eyes of the court it is still a petty public attack on someone taking place in the wrong forum);
- Ask your friends and family to not antagonize the other party (while your social group can provide helpful information that can be used in court to assist you in your case, there is no need for them to publicly shame or create discourse online. This can also be used against you in court depending on the severity of what is said/posted); and finally
- Try to use common sense when posting. If you are bragging about the new purchase you made for yourself the day after receiving your spousal support or child support, or if you flaunt your new partner with how much better they are than the other party, it will do nothing but breed anger and contempt with the other party and could prolong the court battle for both of you.
In the long run, how many likes you get will not outweigh how much animosity exists when you have to deal with an ex-spouse, especially where there are children involved and you have to deal with that ex for the rest of your life.