In today’s digital world, much of our lives are spent online. Social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram have become an extension of ourselves, a virtual reality that we depend on for communication and social interaction. It’s not surprising that with much of our lives lived online, social media has increasingly played a role in divorce.
One in seven married people have considered divorce because of their partner’s activity on social media sites, and nearly 25% of married people argue with their partner on a weekly basis about social media use, according to a survey of 2,000 married Brits by Slater and Gordon Lawyers. A survey of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers found that 81% of U.S. divorce lawyers have seen an increase in cases involving evidence from social networks from 2005–2010. The survey cites Facebook as the primary source of this type of information, followed by MySpace and Twitter (check out this great infographic about social media use during divorce proceedings by lawyers.com).
Messaging, tweeting, and emailing have become second nature in the way we interact with others. Snooping on a spouse’s profile or digging deeper into something that was posted can cause contention, with these communications showing up as evidence in a legal separation. Social media activity can continue to be an issue during and after divorce proceedings.
Tweet and post wisely
Divorce mediation is an empowering, constructive and cost-effective alternative to litigation. A mediator helps facilitate productive conversation between the two parties that results in mutual decisions. During mediation, it’s crucial that the separating couple works together to reach these agreements, even while it may be difficult to be in the same room. It’s best to avoid social media interactions with your ex during mediation (that includes stalking his or her profile!) so that new issues don’t arise in each session based on something you saw online. This doesn’t necessarily mean you have to block your ex across all platforms (although that may be the best way for some situations) but resist snooping or causing digital drama. It’s amazing how much damage a simple “like” can cause between divorcees.