divorce and social media

Social media has thrown many divorces for a loop by bringing new and unexpected forms of evidence into the dissolution process. Often, seemingly innocuous errors can hold huge implications for both spouses.

In Part 1 of our series on shocking social media mistakes, we delved into a few real-life scenarios involving adjusted alimony and even criminal indictments. Now, we explore celebrity examples of divorce-related social media gaffes:

Liking the Wrong Page or Status Update

Active posting alone won’t get you in trouble; your behavior on social media extends well beyond what you post on your wall. Likes and comments can come back to haunt you. Such was the case for actress Anna Faris, who blew the lid on her separation by ‘liking’ a post about divorce one week before she and Chris Pratt made their big announcement. While she didn’t suffer too much, it bears repeating that likes and comments could have stronger implications in some divorce cases, perhaps even impacting alimony or child custody.

Ranting About Exes On Social Media

Reality star Roger Mathews’ divorce from Jenni ‘JWoww’ Farley may still be pending, but it appears that he has done lasting damage to his custody case with a recent social media rant. In a disturbing Instagram post, Mathews used threatening language. A small sample: “I hope you die a slow painful death…just for fun. (Which is the most powerful setting and is like being shot by a police taser).” While we have yet to see the full impact of this behavior play out in court, it’s likely that Mathews’ behavior could lead to the loss of custody or parenting time — he could be deemed incapable of providing a safe home environment for his children.

If social media is throwing you for a loop as you navigate the divorce process, don’t hesitate to seek feedback from the Brown Law Offices.

Research suggests that Facebook prompts approximately one-third of modern divorces. But that’s just the beginning. Once the separation process is underway, couples find themselves navigating new social media complications. What can they post? What can be used as evidence? In this blog series, we’ll take a look at some of the most shocking social media mistakes that caused major misery for divorcing couples.

Alimony Impacted By Belly Dancing Pictures

Dorothy McGurk originally scored $850 in monthly alimony due to injuries from a previous accident that allegedly left her unable to work. That is, until her ex-husband Brian discovered belly dancing images along with a treasure trove of other incriminating photos online. These social media updates made it abundantly clear that McGurk was far more capable of working than she’d indicated while negotiating her original alimony settlement. Her social media flub resulted in a court ruling that saw her alimony cut in half.

Threatening Rap Lyrics

Social media’s interplay with Facebook is so significant, it has already reached the Supreme Court. It all began when Anthony Douglas Elonis posted terrifying rap lyrics to Facebook under a pseudonym. A grand jury indicted him on several counts of threatening not only his estranged wife, but also park employees and local law enforcement officials.

Ultimately, Elonis prevailed, as the Supreme Court reversed the initial decision. Still, this case holds considerable implications for future situations involving threats (whether real or perceived) posted to social media. When in doubt, it’s best to avoid posting anything that could be deemed threatening — even under a pseudonym.

Look to the Brown Law Offices for assistance as you navigate the complicated interplay of social media and divorce. Reach out today to get started.

The internet plays a huge role in modern divorce, for better or for worse. Some divorcees find relief in social networking, but others suffer harassment at the hands of their ex.

Nasty Facebook updates can make your blood boil. How you respond, however, could determine whether you emerge with a favorable divorce resolution. Keep the following in mind as you deal with a difficult ex:

Avoid Facebook Stalking Your Ex

In times of heightened emotion, otherwise innocuous internet updates can seem like personal attacks. If possible, avoid looking at your ex’s social media pages altogether. If a problematic post comes to your attention via friends or family members, monitor the situation and consult your attorney before interacting with your ex.

Forget About ‘Tit For Tat’

Your immediate desire after seeing online insults may be to respond in kind. After all, who could possibly have more dirt on your ex?

Although understandable, this impulse could cause huge problems down the road. Anything you express online could come back to haunt you in the future; that retaliatory tweet or Facebook status may grant the opposing side’s counsel additional ammo.

Resist the urge to write an explanatory post denouncing your ex’s insults. Such a post may prove cathartic in the short-term, but could ultimately be used against you. The less you talk about your divorce in any capacity online, the better.

Take Legal Action for Libel

Severe comments could hurt your reputation, making it difficult to land work or housing in the future. Depending on the nature of the accusations, in certain very specific situations, you might consider taking legal action for libel. Previous spouses have done exactly that on the basis that online publications count as defamation in writing.

Think carefully before taking this approach; a lawsuit could prove costly and may further extend already combative divorce litigation. Furthermore, you’ll need ample proof to demonstrate that problematic language actively harmed you.

The Brown Law Offices, P.A. can optimize your legal approach to make the most of a difficult situation. No matter how your ex-spouse behaves, you can handle the ordeal with a trusted Minnesota attorney by your side.

Transparency—so we’ve been taught—shapes us into more authentic people and prevents us from getting stuck in rigid patterns. By sharing experiences online, we also help others know that they’re not alone. When you’re going through a divorce, this kind of collective therapy isn’t just healthy—it’s downright essential. Right?

Not necessarily. Social media is a double-edged tool. Even well-intended, polite discussions about your divorce on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and elsewhere can profoundly affect your divorce case, and not in a good way.

Here’s what you need to know:

Sharing Versus “Oversharing”

When something happens to us in 2017, it seems second nature to let our friends and family know. We share personal and professional news, often accompanied by pictures. Unfortunately, oversharing on social media can have several negative consequences:

  • You create potentially admissible evidence. What you publish online could be retrieved during discovery to paint an unflattering picture. For example, a casual mention of a new job offer or a vacation may lead to an amendment of your Financial Affidavit, which can affect spousal or child support.
  • You could stoke anger, jealousy or other negative emotions. While Minnesota does not consider fault in a divorce proceeding, publishing pictures of you and your new lover snorkeling on the beach or clinking glasses at a fancy restaurant could enrage your ex-spouse. Bragging is in bad taste, and it can have indirect affects on your divorce outcome. For instance, your ex may react by dropping out of the mediation process, forcing a more public and expensive court battle.
  • You could undermine your case. If you’re claiming strained finances, but you’re posting Facebook updates of lavish vacations or nights out, the court (or your ex) might suspect you have hidden assets.

Do not post anything on social media that you would not share with the whole world. Even if your posts are “private,” they’re still in an online space, which makes them public information in the court’s eyes. Even Snapchats are permanent if someone snags a screenshot.

You may want to speak candidly about ex, but save that for dinner or drinks with friends. Do not use an online public forum.

Our Minnesota family law attorneys are standing by to help you make sense of your next steps. Get in touch today for a strategic consultation.