Social Media Etiquette & Your Divorce/Custody Trial – As Told by Snoop Dogg, Jake Berman, & Benjamin Franklin
Pop quiz! Your ex-spouse just sent you a message saying: “I’m not coming to get the kids tomorrow.” This is your ex-spouse’s third time in the past month of cancelling plans, and you know your kids are going to be disappointed. What do you do?
a) Wait until tomorrow to tell the kids your ex-spouse isn’t going to show up.
b) Immediately bad mouth your ex-spouse to the kids.
c) Lie and tell the kids that, because your ex-spouse was injured while eating spicy tacos, he or she is unable to pick them up tomorrow.
d) Write about your ex-spouse in an explicit and poorly worded social media post.
While any of these choices may land you in hot water, choice D is especially risky. With the advent of social media, nothing in life is sacred. Both Facebook and Twitter are filled with statuses, tweets, and updates pertaining to the most intimate parts of people’s lives – especially their relationships. From “baby mama drama” to sex life, social media makes it easy to leave nothing to the imagination. While a “like” or a “retweet” may give you instant gratification, the lasting effects of negative statements made about your ex-spouse or baby’s parent can show up in the courtroom.
With that being said, if you are going through a divorce or are involved in a custody battle, slow your social media roll. It turns out Snoop Dogg, Jake Berman (from Little Giants), and Benjamin Franklin all had hidden tips to share with the world regarding social media etiquette and the divorce/custody process. Here are three things they want you to consider:
- “You should think about it, take a second – matter fact, you should take four.”
Am I really quoting a 2004 Snoop Dogg song? Yes. Yes I am. Before you hit the post or tweet button, THINK. Think: if this post is printed out and introduced into evidence in my divorce or custody trial, how does it make me look? Does it make me look crazy? Does it make me look immature and petty? Will it be used against me? For example, during your custody trial, posting about your late night binge drinking and hookups can land you in unsavory territory when it comes time to dole out custody periods. If you get the sudden urge to post something unbecoming, drop your electronic device like it’s hot. Thanks, Snoop Dogg.
- Don’t be talkin’ ‘bout my momma – err, I mean judge.
Jake Berman from Little Giants can teach us all a lesson: don’t talk about someone’s mother… or, in our case, judge. While judges are supposed to operate in a closed universe and not know what litigants are posting on social media, this doesn’t always happen. If your ex-spouse’s attorney brings your post from Facebook saying that your judge is “a piece of crap and wouldn’t know fairness from a pig’s butt,” how are you going to defend yourself? Maybe you could try saying that pig butts are actually quite fair… or maybe you should just be quiet. Ultimately, the judge is the decision-maker in your case. Be friendly. Be cordial. Or… at least pretend.
- When it doubt, don’t.
Good ole’ Benjamin Franklin had it right – if you’re in doubt, just don’t! If you have to wonder whether or not what you’re about to post is incriminating, just don’t post it. Out of an abundance of caution, take a hard pass on posting anything salacious, somber, or spiteful. Remember, everything on the internet lasts forever. So, even if you only posted an obscene photo for five minutes, you may have been lucky enough for your ex-spouse to take a screen shot and send it to his or her attorney. Yay.
Even though everything on the internet lasts forever, in preparing for a divorce or custody battle, it’s a good idea to clean up your social media presence – meaning delete unflattering posts and beef up the positivity. As always, if you have any concerns or questions, feel free to contact our firm. We would be happy to rap Snoop Dogg with you while discussing all your family law needs.
… okay. We probably won’t rap.