Divorce and the Impact of Social Media
Social media is a relatively new phenomenon, with apps like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram changing so many aspects of life. Social media can be a business tool or a way to keep in touch with friends and family. However, it’s not all filtered sunsets and artisanal ice cream like the pictures on these apps would suggest.
How Social Media Impacts Marriages and Relationships
Social media can foster a number of negative effects in a relationship, including:
- Unrealistic Expectations – When you’re scrolling, it’s easy to forget that most photos you see have had every visible flaw erased through Facetune or Photoshop. These same models often post couples pictures as well, going on lavish romantic adventures and documenting it for all to see. In real life, your cellulite-free wife doesn’t wake up with a full face of makeup and a blowout, and your husband won’t have six pack abs right after eating a whole pizza.
- Infidelity – Most women have a filtered inbox full of messages from men they don’t know. Many of these men have pictures with their wives or girlfriends in their profiles. Social media provides a more discreet way for people in relationships to stray.
- Insecurity – Maybe your spouse doesn’t post pictures with you, or maybe the same profile has been repeatedly commenting on your spouse’s pictures. Your spouse might not be doing anything wrong, even though their behavior may suggest cheating based on social media standards.
- Distraction – It’s easy to look at your phone expecting to spend 30 seconds responding to someone, and next thing you know you’ve spent an hour watching power washing videos on Instagram. Even when social media use isn’t causing infidelity, it can still damage a relationship.
The Correlation Between Divorce and Number of Hours Spent on Social Media
It’s hard to say whether excessive social media use leads to divorce, or if there were issues related to the divorce that cause one spouse to turn to social media. Studies have shown that increasing the amount of time you spend on social media by 20% increases your chances of divorce by 4 percent. Married people under 40 report unhappier relationships when their partner spends excessive time on social media. Either way, there is a strong link between unhappy relationships and social media usage.
How Social Media is used by Attorneys in Divorce Cases
Anything you post on social media can be used as evidence in matters like alimony, child support, and child custody. For example, if you tell the court you don’t have sufficient income to pay child and spousal support but constantly post pictures of yourself doing lavish things in designer clothes, your ex may present this as evidence that you can pay. If you want full custody of your child but post pictures of yourself partying with your friends every night, this will likely be used against you.
Be Mindful of What You Are Posting Online
There may be specific factors in your case that affect what you should be posting online, but there are some tips everyone can follow regarding social media use during family law cases:
- Don’t post drugs, illegal or otherwise – If a judge has extensive evidence of your drug use, that judge probably won’t award you any custody of your child. Even alcohol, medical marijuana, and prescription medications can be used against you in these hearings. Stick to posting pictures of your dog and your hot dog legs in front of a pool.
- Don’t post yourself spending money recklessly – Fight the urge to make it rain. Don’t post a picture of your withdrawal from the ATM. Your ex (and everyone else, for that matter) doesn’t need to know about all of your financial decisions.
- Don’t disparage your ex – Talking badly about your ex to your children is known as parental alienation, and can negatively impact your child custody case. Constantly posting about your ex may give them grounds for a restraining order. Refrain about publicly discussing your divorce and custody matters as well.
- Wait to post pictures with a new partner – This could invite harassment from your ex, and affect your custody case if your new partner is a bad influence. You should wait until all your family law cases are completed before going public with a new relationship.
The Social Media Sites That Can Interfere with a Relationship
It’s hard to keep up with which apps are being used the most, but a few have cemented themselves as the best way to cheat on your partner.
- Facebook allows you to join groups and meet people based on your specific interests. There are multiple ways to converse in private on Facebook, making it an easy way to secretly stray.
- Instagram and Twitter popularized the term “sliding into the DMs,” or direct messages. You should also make sure your partner isn’t commenting fire or produce emojis on anyone’s pictures.
- Tiktok allows creators to make short videos with background music. If you catch your partner cheating on this app, hopefully you don’t have to get the police involved. It is mostly popular with teenagers, but its audience is growing.
- Snapchat is probably the number one app for cheaters. Messages, pictures, and videos will disappear a few seconds after being viewed. The sender will be notified if the recipient screenshots the message. However, it has many other purposes, so don’t assume your spouse is cheating just because they have Snapchat on their phone.
- If your partner has Tinder, Bumble, Hinge, etc., on their phone, they’re cheating. They are not using the app for business connections. They are not helping their friend with something. They are cheating.
- Ashley Madison– Ashley Madison is a site created for with the specific purpose of helping people cheat on their spouses. If this website auto populates on your spouse’s phone, you have cause for alarm.
If you’re considering divorce and want more advice on your social media usage, our office is here to help. Our Mesa family law attorneys offer affordable rates, and the initial consultation is free. Call to schedule yours today.