When spouses process the emotions of their divorce, they often reach out to friends and family for support. Loved ones can provide encouragement through challenging times or a sympathetic ear for blowing off steam. With social media, people can build these support systems across thousands of miles, bringing some people closer than ever before.

Unfortunately, people sometimes forget that many social media posts are public. People involved in a civil suit, like a divorce, may find a recent Facebook rant appear in court as evidence against them. How can one responsibly post on social media during legal proceedings?

5 guidelines for posting on social media

The following guidelines can help prevent people from posting compromising content on their social media:

  1. No insults: Ranting about an ex may help blow off steam and help a beleaguered spouse find some temporary relief, but posts like this may cause more harm than good. Exaggerations or falsehoods may lead to a libel suit, while aggressive or emotional posts may impact one’s fitness as a parent.
  2. Even innocuous posts have consequences: Posting photos from a night out may seem harmless, but they may impact the courtroom. Some divorces hinge on proving fault, so an opposing lawyer might use these photos as evidence of infidelity, dishonesty or a reflection of character. Keep the photos private for now.
  3. No “checking in”: Posting information about one’s location or activities can compromise a person’s safety. Many spouses file for divorce to escape from an abusive marriage. “Checking in” to a location or posting a running route can help a dangerous abuser locate their victim.
  4. Separate social circles: Over years of marriage, social circles tend to intertwine. While privacy settings allow people to limit who can see a post, some of those people may still talk with their spouse. Triple-check that those who can see a post are trustworthy.
  5. Close accounts: The best way to avoid compromising posts is to shut down all social media accounts for the suit’s duration. Going dark prevents a lawyer from taking posts out of context to win their case.

Questions about privacy? A lawyer can help

Spouses wondering if their social media will compromise any legal proceedings can find answers with a local lawyer familiar with New York divorce laws. An attorney can assess one’s case, consult on social media use during the suit and draw up divorce agreements.