For many of us, social media is the go-to forum for sharing news and information about our lives. When we get a new job, have a new baby, or even enjoy an especially stellar experience at a new restaurant, all the details go on Facebook or Twitter first. It’s a common practice, but is it always appropriate? To be more precise, should you be announcing divorce on social media?
Celebrities have been using Facebook to announce their marital crises for years. When Gwyneth Paltrow split from Chris Martin in 2015, she declared on social media that she was “consciously uncoupling.” In 2019, Liam Hemsworth and Miley Cyrus took to Twitter to announce their divorce. They also unfollowed each other, making it quite obvious that the marriage was ending on difficult terms. What should have been a private matter became a whirlwind of media interest that continued for weeks.
While the average person doesn’t have to worry about TMZ showing up at their door for an interview, they can still face consequences if they don’t address their divorce or separation carefully on social media. In Georgia, a Cobb County family lawyer can advise you on the best way to navigate this potential minefield and protect yourself if your spouse subjects you to a social media smear campaign.
Is It a Good Idea to Make a Social Media Announcement?
Everyone’s situation is different. If your circle of friends and family is comparatively small, a phone call or in-person conversation may be more appropriate. Imagine logging into Facebook and finding out about your sister’s divorce before she’s had the chance to call you.
If you have a larger personal network, a social media announcement can spare you the time and stress of contacting everyone directly, but your actions on Facebook, Twitter, and your other accounts need to be carefully considered. To give you some tips, we’re outlining some do’s and don’ts below.
Do’s and Don’ts of Social Media Use During Divorce or Separation
Here are some general guidelines for using social media to announce or talk about your divorce or separation.
- Think before you post. Be careful not to post anything that could harm your case. Posting about morally questionable topics such as substance abuse, gambling, or online dating is particularly discouraged, as it could impact your custody rights. If you and your ex haven’t settled your financials, avoid posts that show off or brag about expensive purchases, or you could end up with less than your fair share of the marital estate.
- Keep things brief. A tweet is a lot less private than a phone conversation. Keep any announcements neutral and to the point and consider running them past your divorce attorney before you hit ‘post.’
- Make negative posts about your ex. Avoid posting negative comments about your ex-spouse, their family, or friends, or about your court case. These posts may upset your children in particular because you are speaking negatively about their other parent. If you need to vent, consider talking to a family member, friend, or therapist in person.
- Let yourself be tagged in inappropriate posts: Your ex may be able to see the posts you’re tagged in, even if they can’t see your own. Change your social media account settings to require your approval before you are tagged in something, or simply untag yourself when such posts come to your attention.
What if Your Ex is Running a Social Media Smear Campaign?
It’s possible that your ex won’t be as restrained. Perhaps they didn’t want the divorce or separation or they believe you were unfaithful. Perhaps they are a narcissist who doesn’t like being crossed. Whatever the reason, they are making spiteful posts about you on social media, and you’re mortified.
Ideally, you want to distance yourself from a narcissist spouse or partner, but if they’re using social media to present themselves as the victim and you as the bad one in the relationship, let your Georgia divorce attorney know immediately.
When in Doubt, Talk to a Cobb County Divorce Lawyer
Whether or not you are a celebrity, exposing the minutiae of your personal life to the outside world is rarely a good idea, unless you do it very carefully. Divorce and separation are extremely emotional events, and it’s easy to make a post or tweet that you’ll regret later. If you’re unsure of your ability to communicate respectfully or your ex is using social media to make your life miserable, talk to a divorce attorney immediately.
The experienced Marietta divorce lawyers at Gentry Law Firm LLC provide practical, professional advice to people seeking a divorce or separation. We understand how the emotional aspects of these life events can impact judgment and will provide the advice you need to be your best self during this difficult time. Contact us today for a consultation.