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How and Why You Should Clean Up Your Social Media During a Divorce

Social media has created an additional challenge to relationships that further complicates breakups and divorces. The high points in life that we tend to share on social media often include our spouses which ends up leaving you with a very public record of your relationship. Whether you are relieved, devastated, or anywhere in between, cleaning up your social media is worth considering. There are also some potentially devastating effects related to your posts during your divorce proceedings. Here are some social media guidelines to consider when going through the divorce process.

Social Media During a Divorce

No Negative Posts

During a divorce, you should think twice about posting any type of negative information about your spouse, your spouse’s family, your spouse’s friends, or your children. Social media posts can be archived on the internet for eternity. Prior to posting, consider asking yourself if this is something that you want everyone in the world to know, including your children.

Another reason to hesitate before posting is because your spouse’s divorce lawyer could use your own words against you in legal proceedings for your divorce and/or custody arrangements. Additionally, contacting one of our licensed Therapists to talk through these emotions could help prevent you from posting on social media out of anger or frustration with your situation.

Intimate Dating Details

During a divorce, you might feel a renewed sense of freedom from your last relationship. This could lead you into dating, which is generally a healthy thing after divorce. However, unless you are ready for the entire world, or more specifically, your spouse, children, and your spouse’s legal team, knowing you are dating, then it is best to keep your new relationship offline. Further, if there are any overlaps between your new relationship and your marriage, then this could further complicate your divorce proceedings, any spousal maintenance you may owe, and your future relationship with your children.

Large Purchases

Think twice before posting photos of your new house, car, lavish vacation, or other large expense. In Texas, everything is considered community property until the divorce is finalized. Essentially, your spouse would be entitled to a 50% interest in any new piece of real property or asset purchased prior to the divorce finalization, even if you and your spouse have separate finances. Additionally, finances are a leading factor in divorces in America. As a result, your spouse’s legal team might reference photographs of a newly purchased car or jewelry from your social media in legal proceedings.

Confessions of Overcoming Prior Addictions

It can be cathartic to publicly announce your sobriety from substance abuse or your recovery from gambling addiction; however, think twice before posting this information on social media during a divorce. Not only can your spouse’s legal team use this information against you, but witnesses in divorce proceedings might start attributing some of your past behaviors with these addictions rather than the actual cause such as stress or other factors.

It’s somewhat common for couples with children to finalize a divorce on less than favorable child custody terms due to the high cost of having your attorneys battle for custody. In some cases, individuals will do this with the plan of saving money after the divorce is finalized so that they can fight to change the terms later on. If you think you may ever go back to court in an attempt to change your child custody terms, you should consult with your attorney before posting anything related to your past addiction.

Relationship Status Change

Changing your relationship status on Facebook usually triggers a newsfeed notification to your Facebook friends. Prior to changing your relationship status, consider whether you are ready for your friends, family, and acquaintances to know you are divorcing your spouse. Further, consider if your spouse is ready for any mutual friends or family that are friends with you on social media to see a divorce announcement via a relationship status change.

One option is to change your settings of your relationship status to private. From there, you can change your relationship status from Married to Single. Then, when you are ready for a public announcement, you can change your settings to public. Further, if you are reverting your last name to your maiden name, consider changing your display name to include your middle name rather than your maiden name. It is becoming increasingly common for individuals to refrain from using their full, legal names on social media to avoid job prospects, nosey exes, or other individuals from finding their social media profiles.

After The Divorce is Finalized

Divorce Announcement

When you are ready, you may choose to make a divorce announcement on social media. If you choose to make a divorce announcement, then consider keeping the post neutral and factual. If you share children with your ex-spouse, then consider that you will coparent with them until your children are eighteen years old. Child custody arrangements are subject to change via modifications, so think carefully about how you portray your ex-spouse on social media.

Defriending or Unfollowing Former Spouse and Former Family

It can be very difficult to see photographs or posts of your ex-spouse with a new partner, your ex-spouse going on vacation with your children without you, or your ex-spouse hanging out with friends you were once very close with. One option to avoid this is to unfollow your former spouse’s social media pages. On Facebook, this will keep your ex-spouse from showing up on your social media newsfeed. You will still have access to their social media page as their “friend,” but you will not open your phone to see a photo of your ex-spouse immediately after starting a social media app. On Instagram, unfollowing your former spouse is more similar to “defriending” your former spouse on Facebook. If your former spouse has a private Instagram account, then you will have to re-request to follow them if you choose to do so in the future. Similarly, on Facebook, once you defriend someone, or remove them as a friend, then you will not be able to see their social media posts unless those posts are set to public.

Furthermore, consider whether you want your former in-laws to see everything you post on your social media. It might be easier for you to defriend them or block them on social media.

Removing Photographs of Your Former Spouse

Prior to, during, or after your divorce, you may choose to remove photographs of your former spouse from your social media. Many individuals share photographs of their wedding day, which may be a difficult event to look back upon via photographs on social media. It may be beneficial to simply remove these photos from your social media. Additionally, your spouse, friends, or family members, may have tagged you in photographs with your spouse. You can go through these photographs and un-tag yourself to prevent these photographs from showing up on your social media.

In conclusion, social media has added a layer of complexity to divorce and relationships in general. Also, one of our licensed therapists can guide you by acting as a sounding board when you consider cleaning up your social media accounts.

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