It’s over, you know it and he knows it. But letting your Facebook friends in on every intimate facet of your new life, and ugly detail of your divorce can cause problems you might be better off avoiding.
Avoid Online Over-exposure During Divorce
Today it seems nothing is private and that most people tend to over-share. On any given day, I can sign into Facebook and find a post by a friend who is feeling depressed or has admitted drinking too much last night. And when a relationship is on the rocks, I am usually privy to an eyeful of information that used to take months of gossip to learn. TMI has become TMIO (too much information online) and is running rampant!
Many people probably think, “What’s the big deal? Only my friends and family can read what I write on Facebook!” But that’s not necessarily true. While you may only accept people you trust as Facebook friends, if your Facebook settings aren’t correct, your friends’ friends and even their friends can view information about you and your everyday ramblings. An old friend of yours from high school can often read a wall post between you and a newer friend of yours from work, even though they aren’t Facebook friends with each other.
And let’s get real, most of us have “friends” on Facebook, never tested as confidants, who might enjoy sharing a little juicy gossip with someone else. You’d be a wiser person to realize that most things going on in your private life, especially during a divorce, don’t belong in the mucked-up, semi-public social networking sites.
Be Smart about Sharing on Facebook during Divorce
Guys, if she is looking for information to use against you, or girls, if he is jealous of your new boyfriend, Facebook and other social networking websites are great places for your ex to dig up dirt for a lawyer, or to use to stalk you. Understanding this, stop and think before posting anything online during divorce!
1. Avoid posting pictures of your new single, party life online – In his website’s “Divorce Don’ts While Online”, Dr. Phil passes on advice from a divorce attorney concerning the need for restraint. Dr. Scott Trout of Cordell & Cordell P.C., tells his clients not to “let it all hang out” online during divorce proceedings. He warns that risqué photos or alcohol-fueled antics posted online paint an unsavory picture if a child-custody ensues, and can weaken your divorce case. If a borderline friend tags you in a photo taken at midnight after a few too many rounds of tequila shots, delete it from your profile!
2. Don’t flaunt your finances – One of the biggest fights in a divorce can be who gets what and who pays who. It’s hard to argue that you can’t afford to pay your half of the community debt if your Facebook profile indicates otherwise. Guys, don’t brag about a new car. Ladies, don’t post those pictures of your European trip until after the divorce is final to avoid explaining that your new beau paid your way. If child support or alimony is in the process of being finalized, don’t share the news of an expected financial windfall until your divorce is final!
3. Don’t report your emotional status daily – It’s normal to go through a whole range of feelings during a divorce, but avoid building an emotional rollercoaster on your Facebook page. Over-sharing ups and downs that can wind up in print might make you appear to be an unstable parent to a judge. Your friends may feel caught in the middle over your scathing posts about your ex if they are friends with your ex too. Even if they have experienced divorce, friends have a tendency to remember even their most emotionally tumultuous moments as less dramatic than yours. Sure, you shouldn’t bottle up your emotions, but keep it out of cyberspace! Instead, have an old-fashioned conversation with a trusted friend over a glass of wine, or spend time on a therapist’s sofa instead of venting online.
4. Become your kid’s’ facebook friend – Many teens and pre-teens also use Facebook as their social network, and may be having emotional issues during your divorce too. You’ll gain insight to their inner-conflicts by keeping an eye on their wall posts, which offer an opportunity to help your kids cope.
Additionally, if your teen is friends with your spouse’s family and friends and beefs online about the typical teenager stuff, complaints intended for his buddies will be visible to everyone. When he whines about being left alone at night without a car, or that there’s nothing in the refrigerator but beer, these remarks might be misconstrued and passed on to your ex who could use them against you in a custody battle over younger siblings. If only temporarily, insist on becoming your kids’ Facebook friend until the divorce is final.
5. Avoid sharing your every move and whereabouts – Guys, ff you have a bitter soon-to-be ex-wife why announce plans to take a trip somewhere she always wanted to go? Keep your fireside romantic adventures with your new girlfriend private too, for everyone’s sake! Ladies, if your soon-to-be-ex-husband is jealous and controlling, don’t provide fuel for his raging divorce rants or worse. Keep your plans for a girl’s night out between you and the girls in a private email. Don’t share that you finally have the house to yourself for the night. In general, don’t broadcast anything that could get back to him which might make him grab his binoculars and watch you from the bushes.
Crazy spouses aside, what about that old friend from school who found you on Facebook? He or She might not be the person you remember, so why provide a map of your life that could possibly assist a stalker who has always had secret designs on you?
Facebook can be a great tool for staying connected to the people in your life that you enjoy and trust, but simple logic is required when sharing information online. As tempting as it might be to vent to your Facebook friends about what a jerk your spouse is while your divorce is unfolding, it is wise to exercise restraint until things are final. Think twice about sharing information on your Facebook page while you and your spouse work through the legal and emotional issues involved when a marriage is ending. Your attorney and Facebook friends will thank you.