Be wary of social media during a Tennessee divorce

With the advent of the internet, email and social media, communication has become instantaneous. In the past, it took time to write a letter and then address an envelope or find another way to send the message. In a divorce when relations are already strained a Facebook post or tweet written in anger can come back during a motion hearing or trial.

In addition, social media may not only be dangerous during a divorce, it can also affect your marriage. Oxford University psychologists found that using many different channels to communicate - Facebook, tweets, texts and instant messages - resulted in a drop in average relationship satisfaction. The findings suggest that the overuse of social media can be bad for a relationship in general.

Across the country and in Tennessee, family law attorneys have noted that more divorce cases involve social media evidence. Data released by the American Association of Matrimonial Lawyers indicates that social media evidence played a role in 81 percent of divorce cases. There are some general rules to follow when using social media after a separation.

Assume a judge will see everything you share on social media

Be aware of privacy settings. Consider who can view what you write. On Facebook, depending on your privacy settings what you post may be open for all internet users to view. You may unfriend a spouse after you separate, but if you have friends in common comments and pictures may still be visible to your spouse.

Cellphones are now as much camera as phone with easy uploads to Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. Tagging allows pictures you did not even take to wind up on your profiles. A photo from a wild night out might be damaging to a request for child custody.

Cooling-off period

Divorce is emotionally charged and it is normal to feel a wide range of emotions. After receiving a divorce petition, the first emotion might be anger. Write an email or post to let off steam, but do not send or post it. Wait a day and then review what you wrote and decide whether it is wise to send.

In some cases, it may be beneficial to stay off all your social media accounts until you have finalized a divorce agreement. While some may wonder where you are at, you can fill in closer friends and family via a phone call.

If you and your spouse are discussing divorce, contact a family law attorney for more advice on starting the process. The counsel on an experienced advocate can ensure your rights are protected.