SMS programs (such as Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter) make it easy to let off a little steam when you’re losing it. It’s easy to say mean things about your ex-spouse-to-be when you’re on-line and angry. But this can create problems for you – especially when you’re in the middle of a divorce.
Did you know you could be sued for slander if your comments are lies? Yes indeed. It’s called libel if you are making untrue (even slightly untrue) comments that could cause financial or reputational harm to the person you slandered.
I know, you’re thinking it’s okay because you’ve unfriended your ex and s/he will never know what you wrote. These websites are not particularly private – you never know when what you have written will end up surfacing on the wrong website. Whether you get sued or not, your angry comments could be presented to the judge as evidence against you during your divorce proceedings. The judge can consider these comments when awarding custody or alimony. Your actions could be construed as attempts to damage your ex-spouse’s relationship with your children or simply as attempts to malign your ex-spouse in the eyes of others.
As a rule of thumb, never ever malign your ex on an SMS website. Ever. There. Now you feel safe and believe you are okay to post as you please as long as you avoid saying mean things (even if they are true) about you ex.
Not so fast…
Other items you post can also hurt you in your divorce proceedings. Pictures and postings can say a lot about your lifestyle, income, and attitude. Are you partying all the time? Did you post pictures of that great party you attended when it was your turn for parent time with the kids? Are you claiming poverty in your divorce documents and positing pictures of your new BMW? The best policy is to be honest in your court documents and ensure your Facebook, etc. does not portray you contrary to how you are portraying yourself to the courts.
Cruise your websites every few weeks looking specifically for items that could frame you in a negative light. If they exist (and are true) fix yourself. If they exist (and are untrue) fix those websites. And, for heaven’s sake, don’t be mean about your ex or whine about your kids on your Facebook!
Article by Dr. Sherry Thompson