Tennessee Divorce Attorneys: Can Social Media Be Used Against You in Divorce?

As Tennessee divorce attorneys we know the divorce process well. Not only is divorce a decision that’s tough to make, but the process takes a toll on the emotions of those involved. When people are worked up emotionally, it’s normal for them to look for outlets through which to express themselves. Whether it be writing down their feelings or talking through them with a trusted friend, sharing their thoughts and opinions helps them to cope. However, in a digital world people need to be cautious in the way they communicate their emotions–not only in how they choose to phrase their feelings but with whom they choose to share them with.

When we are angry we tend to want to scream out loud to signal to those around us how we feel but with the advent of social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, our actions are a great deal more public. Because everything you post online is virtually part of the public record, you open yourself to negative consequence. Anything you post online can be used against you. In our many years of practice as Tennessee divorce attorneys, we’ve seen it happen all the time in divorce cases. In fact, a recent study by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (AAML) reported that over 80 percent of divorce attorneys acknowledge that the amount of cases using social networking evidence has increased significantly since 2006. Not only can social media damage your pending or existing divorce case, but your actions via these social networks can affect your child custody rights as well as limit your ability to collect alimony. No picture, status or check-in, no matter how important it might seem at the time is worth the damage it can do to your divorce settlement. So post at your own discretion or better yet, don’t post at all.

From your trusted Tennessee divorce attorneys, here are a few tips to help you stay mindful of what you post and ensure that your use of social media doesn’t affect your divorce settlement.

Think Twice Before You Post. You should already be wary of what you post as a means of protecting your reputation both in your personal and professional life. Knowing well how easily people can misinterpret things, it’s important to be careful not to depict yourself in a negative light. Even though your emotions are running high it’s in your best interest to keep them to yourself and not run the risk of feeding an already fiery divorce process.

Don’t Advertise Your Location. This isn’t something you should be doing anyway as a safety precaution. However, a lot of social media sites such as Facebook use geo-tagging features that let people know where you are when making a post. Your whereabouts are no one’s business but your own so turn that feature off when you can or avoid using those sites altogether until things settle down a bit. After all, the last thing you need during this sensitive time is for nosy people to spread rumors about who you’re with or what you’re up to.

Keep Your Passwords to Yourself and Change Them if Necessary. Social media activity can stir up a lot of negative feelings during relationships so you can imagine what kind of dirt your ex might try to dig up out of spite. If you’ve ever given your ex any of your passwords or have reason to believe they might have a reasonable chance of guessing them correctly, you want to make sure to change them right away. Moreover, if you’re coming out of a relationship that was particularly controlling or deceitful, you might want to go the extra mile to check your devices for any spyware.

Choose your “friends” wisely. This isn’t meant to scare or worry you that your friends might have ulterior motives or that your ex is out to ruin your online reputation. However, it’s important to be cautious of who is in your social network of friends. In the beginning stages of divorce, jealousy can get the best of people, even if the couple broke things off on mutual, friendly terms. To avoid drama and upset feelings it is probably a good idea to “unfriend” or block your ex for at least a period of time, at least until time has allowed for emotions to cool off. Another thing to take into consideration is whether you should block or limit the viewing ability of mutual friends and family who may sympathize with your ex. After all, you don’t want to sacrifice any of your close relationships by putting them in the middle.

If you have any other questions or concerns about how to prevent social media from having a negative impact on your divorce or are in need of general support to help ease you through the divorce process, your favorite Tennessee divorce attorneys are here to back you up both in court and out.


The attorneys of Cheatham, Palermo & Garrett, are experienced in the interpretation and application of Tennessee family laws and have been committed to protecting the financial and parental rights of men and women in Franklin and throughout Middle Tennessee for more than 30 years. They bring a wealth of legal knowledge and experience to each case they handle, providing their clients with skilled representation in the areas of Divorce, Child Custody, Child Support, Prenuptial Agreements, Qualified Domestic Relations Orders, Music/Intellectual Property, and Juvenile Court.

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