Terry L. Hart, Attorney at Law

Unfriending social media during divorce

A divorcing spouse has many opportunities to undermine their case for spousal and child support, property division and other important matters. The misuse of social media is a misstep that can be used against a spouse during divorce.

First and foremost, everything posted on Facebook, Twitter and other open forums can, and very likely will, be used against the posting spouse during a divorce. Pictures about vacations and purchases can undermine arguments about the ability to pay support, for example. Posting pictures about dates and partying can resurface in a custody battle.

An unwise post can transform a relatively amicable process into a fight. Restricting posts to friends does not guarantee secrecy because that friend is not restricted from sharing posts from others. Their friends and relatives can also hurt their arguments with their own postings.

While divorce is being considered, a spouse can take precautions, such as locking down privacy settings and reviewing untrusted friends' access. Removing negative or ill-considered posts, even if some posts may not be taken back, can help limit some problems. Airing marital problems and venting before the divorce filing is unwise and these posts may be used against a spouse later.

The details of the legal process should not be posted. There is no need disclose the specifics of legal disputes, such as visitation agreements and who received personal property. Spouses should try to agree on the timing of social media divorce announcements to help avoid blindsiding a spouse. Couples may attempt to reach agreements about the timing of child-related social media posts to restrict details about their children's personal lives.

Even if a divorce is final, a spouse has the right to seek modification of custody, support or other orders. Care should be taken about posts to avoid litigation, keep the break up as civil as possible and prevent turmoil for the children. An attorney can provide advice on this issue and respond to social media postings. They are prepared to protect a spouse's rights during hearings, negotiations and communications.

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Terry L. Hart, Attorney at Law
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Houston, TX 77027

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