Two excellent articles on social media’s impact on the way we treat our spouses during marriage and divorce.
Social Media’s Effect on Marriage
We’ve all seen it: a group of friends sitting around together, texting, posting, scrolling, commenting and swiping on their phones, oblivious to each other; a parent and child at the park, mom checking her Facebook page while the toddler plays alone; a couple having dinner together, totally immersed in their electronic devices, not even making eye contact.
Ironically, “social” media can isolate us from meaningful contact with our loved ones. Electronic communication, though efficient and accessible 24/7, cannot take the place of a smile (or frown) at your spouse, a laugh shared around the table with friends, a kiss on the forehead from your grandmother, or a screaming match with your teenager.
The effects of electronic device dependency are oftentimes evident in the breakdown of a marriage. An article posted on Huffington Post, “Six Ways Social Media Can Tank a Marriage, According to Divorce Lawyers,” outlines how social media, though fun and useful, can adversely affect a marriage, according to a survey of divorce lawyers. Everyday use of social media can lead to clandestine behavior online, which may lead to mistrust, lies and an eventual breakdown of a relationship.
Social Media’s Effect on Divorce
When a couple begins divorce proceedings, they don’t necessarily safeguard their social media presence. True, they may “unfriend” their spouse or create a new email password, but rarely will someone wipe their online slate completely clean. Their friends may align themselves with one and report on the activities of the other; pictures posted on Facebook may tell the story of a new car in the garage or a vacation with a new partner. This can be particularly damaging when the new car owner also claims there is no income available for child support.
Forbes magazine posted an article by Jeff Landers entitled “How Social Media Can Affect Your Divorce.” In the article, Mr. Landers discusses the financial implications of spouses sleuthing Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for signs of excessive spending, new cars, and vacation homes, and how private emails may end up as evidence in court: “. . . social media, email and text messages provide a potentially huge trail of evidence that can be hard to explain away.”
Social media is powerful. Its effects on both the breakdown of a marriage and the build-up of an ugly divorce cannot be emphasized enough. Care should be taken to keep those effects at bay to protect your relationships, both during your divorce and in your post-divorce life.