Did you know that social media has the power to drastically affect a couple’s marriage? It can easily become a catalyst for contention and, in some cases, can even lead to divorce down the road. And the negative affect of social media doesn’t stop there. It can also cause additional problems during a divorce.
How Social Media Can Negatively Affect Marriage and Divorce:
1. Diverted Attention:
It’s no surprise that significant others require attention. In today’s social media laden world, one or both participants in a marriage is most likely on one or more social media platforms (i.e. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, etc.) Social media is used by countless people to keep in touch with friends and family, reconnect with friends and families, etc. Some users may even find themselves spending hours in front of their screen offering the majority of their attention to the constantly updated statuses, knowingly or unknowingly ignoring their “real” relationships for their online relationships.
2. Prioritizing Social Media:
Some couples run into trouble because one or both of the parties spend excessive amounts of time on social networking instead of spending that time on other priorities, like their relationship or their household or even their job. Too much time and energy is allowed to drift into staring at the screen, checking Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc. Having said that, social media in itself is not a negative activity. It is simply, like most things, best in moderation.
3. Direct Connection to People from the “Past”:
Social media’s ability to allow users to easily connect with people from the past can often lead to lack of trust and honesty in a marriage. Many fall into the trap of defining writing a quick message as harmless; a way to communicate that is not “personal.” Yet just because the contact is not face to face does not mean that the online communication would not be hurtful to a significant other, or even misunderstood as flirting instead of the innocent chatting that may have been intended.
4. Damaging Discoveries:
Other marriages are damaged due to the sheer accessibility of information created by the social media networks. Countless people have discovered that their significant other was engaging in an affair due to photos, comments, tags, messages, etc. This is just one of the many damaging discoveries that can cause irreparable harm to a marriage. In fact, in some cases, the “discovery” may not even be based in fact because everything found online is not actually true. The truth can easily be twisted or misconstrued just enough to cause a lot of harm to a relationship.
5. Increase of Contention During Divorce:
Divorcing couples should use caution posting information and photos online during their divorce as certain actions made public or certain comments announced publicly can significantly increase the contention present during a divorce, which can increase the length of time necessary to come to a final agreement.
6. Evidence at a Hearing:
Many divorcing couples are not aware that social media can be entered into evidence during divorce or child custody hearings. Consider the potential interpretations of information and photos prior to posting to avoid unnecessary trouble. The best post during this time is usually no post at all. Once a post is made, there could be significant penalties for removing information that may be considered as evidence. It is always best to speak with an experienced family law attorney regarding this issue to avoid complications and sanctions in the future.
If you need to discuss the potential negative effect that social media may be having on your divorce or if you have any other questions related to alimony, spousal support, child custody, etc., please get in touch with one of the experienced family law attorneys at Stanley-Wallace Law.