It is hard to believe, but Facebook has only been around since 2004. Twitter was founded in 2006, and Instagram is less than 10 years old. Yet, today, these and other social media platforms play a central role in many people’s lives; and, with increasing frequency, they are playing a central role in many people’s divorces as well.
During a divorce, there are a number of important “dos and don’ts” when it comes to social media. Here are answers to some frequently asked questions (FAQs) about social media and divorce:
Q: If I am anticipating a divorce, should I block my spouse on social media?
During a divorce, the general rule is that you want to preserve as much privacy as possible. Ideally, you would not post anything on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or any other social media platform until your divorce becomes final. If you choose to keep using social media during your divorce, in most cases, the best practice is to set your privacy settings to provide maximum protection, and you should ask your friends and family not to tag you in their posts while your divorce is pending.
Q: Can my spouse block me on social media during our divorce?
As a general rule, yes. There is no “right” to have access to someone else’s social media profile (unless access is granted pursuant to a court order). Just like you can block your spouse, your spouse can block you.
Q: Can I monitor my spouse’s social media profiles during our divorce?
Yes, if your spouse is posting information online and allowing you to view his or her profiles, there is no legal reason not to follow his or her account. In fact, monitoring social media activity can provide a key source of evidence in many divorces. However, if you have been blocked or you and your spouse are not “friends” online, logging into your spouse’s accounts without permission would be strongly ill-advised.
Q: What are the risks of posting on social media during a divorce?
If you make information publicly-available online, your spouse has every right to try to use it against you during your divorce. From photos of late nights out (suggesting that you may not be “fit” to receive primary custody) to evidence that you have assets or financial resources that you did not formally disclose through the divorce process, there are a number of pitfalls to posting on social media during a divorce. Badmouthing your spouse online is also a bad idea, as is generally discussing or complaining about the divorce process.
Q: What should I do if I have already posted photos or information my spouse may be able to use against me?
If you have already posted potentially-harmful photos or statements, this is something that you will want to discuss with an attorney right away. There are potential risks to deleting posts during a divorce – especially if you are concerned that they could trigger a dispute – and you do not want to make any mistakes that could jeopardize your ability to protect your interests in your divorce.
Q: What if my spouse has my login information? Can I change my password?
Yes. If your spouse has access to your social media accounts (or your emails or texts), you should change your password right away. You may be forced to hand over certain information during your divorce; however, you do not have to give your spouse unfettered access outside of formal court procedures.
Discuss Your Divorce in Confidence
If you are contemplating a divorce and would like more information about the potential pitfalls associated with social media – or if you have any other questions about the divorce process in New Jersey – we encourage you to contact us for a free, no-obligation consultation. To speak with an experienced Hackensack divorce lawyer in confidence, please call (201) 654-4263 or inquire online today.