Studies show that many Americans spend more than a couple of hours a day on social media. We often share information about our activities, what we eat, thoughts about friends and family, and more.
Yet under some circumstances, sharing is not always a good thing.
As a Collaborative Divorce Attorney and Family Mediator, I have opportunity to see how social media can make a positive difference and how thoughtless posting can lead to negative consequences.
Before social media became available, parents connected with their children during visitation, in person or by phone. Now parents have many more options available to connect with, and learn about, their children. Skype and FaceTime offer opportunities to converse and see each other when talking. A parent can even visit with more than one child at a time and see and hear the background when talking.
Some children, especially tweens and teens, are not very talkative and may respond to general inquiries with single words such as fine, good, ok, I don’t feel like talking, etc. A parent can also learn more about a child’s friends, activities, and thoughts through Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Some children express their creativity through photos and videos they post.
In cases where parents are cooperating, they share news about their children and provide many opportunities for each parent to connect with their child. There are also ways parents can communicate with one another using apps and software designed for co-parenting when parents do not live together.
In higher conflict cases, communication between parents is not always good. One parent may not support another, and a parent may interfere with the other parent’s communication with their child. Some of the computer and phone resources can help parents communicate and plan, even when they are not effectively communicating by phone or in person.
There are some ground rules that should be followed by people in the process of divorcing.
It may be best not to use social media during divorce, because a posting can be used against you. A soon to be ex-spouse or their lawyer may learn something that can put you in negative light.
Avoid illegal, immoral or questionable activities.
It is always best to refrain from saying anything negative about someone.
There is no reason that you need to provide information about new possessions or relationships on social media.
Do not discuss your case online; it should be private.
Remember that posts can be evidence and to seek the advice of legal counsel regarding use of social media and before deleting any evidence if a litigation case is pending.
Quite simply, it is best to take the high road when using social media, especially during divorce. When in doubt, stay silent. If using social media, it should be for the opportunity to communicate in a positive manner with an ex-spouse and/or a child. The tools available can be helpful or hurtful.
Take the high road.