How social media can negatively affect you during divorce

Photo of attorney Melinda L. Singer

We live in a digital era in which social media plays a significant role in our lives. With these platforms, we share our activities, hobbies and passions with our loved ones. However, your ex can use everything you post on social media against you during the divorce proceedings. Your activity online counts as evidence in court, so you must be careful with what you post if you don’t want that to affect you.

Social media as evidence

The use of social media as evidence in divorce proceedings is increasing. As a defense, your ex could use your posts, comments, tags and status updates to support their arguments and take the upper hand on different matters. Using social media as evidence is valid during a divorce, and the court can look at it to make decisions regarding child custody, child support, alimony and even property distribution.

Child custody

The court will decide who gets custody of your child considering the child’s best interests. If you post something that goes against that, the court won’t assign you custody of your child. Some of the factors that the court considers to determine child custody in New Jersey are:

  • The parent’s ability to agree, communicate and cooperate
  • The interaction and relationship of the child with their parents and siblings
  • The safety of the child
  • The needs of the child
  • The stability of the home environment offered
  • The quality and continuity of the child’s education
  • The fitness of the parents

If you upload content in which you are shown drinking, partying, smoking or spending a great amount of time with friends, the court will think that you won’t meet the child’s needs. The same applies if someone else tags you on posts that incriminate you as an inattentive parent. Also, you must avoid talking badly about your ex on social media. If you do this, the court will think you are unfit to cooperate with your ex to raise the child.

Child support, alimony and property distribution

New Jersey is a no-fault divorce state, so the court won’t give your ex a bigger share of the property if you cheated on them. However, if you post photos vacationing or living a luxurious life with your new partner, your ex will argue that you spend the marital assets on them, and the court will compensate them for that loss. Announcing job promotions or expensive purchases online can also affect the amount you’ll have to pay for child support and alimony.

Shutting down your online presence

Remember, your ex can use everything you post or say on social media against you. Because of this, you should abstain from using social media while your divorce proceedings are pending. You must also be careful about what you post after the divorce, since the court can modify child support and custody orders if your ex proves that your circumstances change in any way. You don’t want to lose custody of your child or a share of your property, and losing those things over a social media post would not be worth it.

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