The mistake of using social media during a divorce in New Jersey
A recent report published in Science Direct claims there is a correlation between social media and divorce in New Jersey and across the country. The study found that the quality of a marriage has a negative association with social networking sites. Researchers determined that in areas where divorce rates are higher, so are the number of Facebook profiles.
While social media may not necessarily be to blame for the split, it has been shown to have serious negative effects on the outcome of a divorce. Anyone going through a similar situation should know what not to do on these public spaces.
Experts note that social media posts are now used as evidence in divorce cases. The Washington Post reports that in about one-third of all cases, a spouse will turn to a site like Facebook in order to find posts that demonstrate some kind of illegal or improper behavior.
For example, property division is often a hot-button issue during a separation. It requires both parties to present an accurate picture of their financial situation. However, if they post something on Facebook about a big bonus, which was never disclosed in divorce documents, it could be used against them during proceedings.
Rules of thumb
Keeping in mind that no post on social media is ever truly private, experts warn those going through a divorce not to post anything that they would not want a judge to see. Forbes magazine points out that even if someone deletes a picture or status, it is possible for the information to be leaked. Another user could have cached the page or taken a screenshot of the post and sent it to a former spouse.
In general, people who are divorcing should heed the following tips:
- Avoid portraying themselves as single if they have children, especially if they are involved in a child custody or support dispute.
- Do not make negative comments regarding children or parenting.
- Do not post pictures or status updates that could be interpreted as substance abuse or illegal behavior.
- Avoid bashing the other spouse in online spaces.
When in doubt about a post, experts advise forgoing it.
New Jersey and social media
Social media has already played a role in a number of court cases in New Jersey. For example, the American Bar Association points out that a teacher in the state lost her job after posting something negative about her students on Facebook. The state permits not only social media posts but also text messages and emails to be admitted as evidence.
Anyone who has questions about this matter should consult with an attorney.