California is a no-fault state, so these posts won’t have impact on the division of marital property, unless they show you spent a substantial amount of money or ran up a substantial amount of debt entertaining a paramour.
But social media posts can be used to show evidence of your character when it’s time to address the issue of custody. And they can impact spousal support payments, too. Here are a few things to avoid.
#1) Lifestyle Posts
Did you just buy a new car or take a great vacation? If you brag about it on social media you’re going to have a hard time convincing the judge you’re too poor to pay for a proposed alimony settlement.
And if these posts betray a lifestyle higher than your reported income and assets might allow for, they can serve as a sign you are trying to hide assets.
#2) Questionable Photos
You don’t always have to be the one to snap the photo of yourself at a party, beer in hand. Someone else can do it and “tag” you in it. If you’re going to a party where drinks will be served, try to make it clear to all participants that you cannot be featured in any photos right now.
If this ends up in court, it could show you are an unfit parent. Unfit parenting is one of the few things that can hand your spouse sole legal and physical custody of your children.
#3) Complaints About Your Ex
They will get back to him or her through the rumor mill even if you aren’t following one another anymore.
This can have one of two impacts. One would be forcing you to go to trial at all. These comments might just make your ex too angry to settle.
The other is making it look like you are the type of person who might alienate your children from their other parent. This, again, can have substantial impacts on who your child lives once the issue of custody has been decided.
#4) Statements Which Look Like Threats
You might just be lashing out in anger, but these sorts of jokes don’t look good. A whole lot of people who “joke” that they want to kill their ex really mean it. These sorts of posts can back up a claim of domestic violence.
It can also be used as grounds to grant a Protection from Abuse Order, which can have quite a few negative implications for the entire divorce process.
#5) Deleted Posts
Many articles will tell you to delete posts, but don’t race to follow their advice.
You should talk to your divorce lawyer before running off to fix past social media mistakes. Deleted posts can make a judge wonder what you’re trying to hide. If the judge is wondering what he or she is not seeing and is torn between two decisions those deleted posts could create the tipping point that puts the entire divorce settlement into your ex’s favor.
It’s better to have a strategy for dealing with them, and to avoid further mistakes going forward.
The Safe Route? Stay Off Social Media
At the very least, you should stop all activity until the case is decided. And then resume using the services with a large degree of caution for the optics involved.
If you wouldn’t do it or say it in front of your ex, don’t do it or say it on social media, either.