Social media and separation: do's and don'ts

People going through a separation are understandably under a lot of pressure; often financially and emotionally. It may seem tempting to reach out to others on social media for support or validation but there can be serious repercussions and unexpected consequences of doing so.

Things to remember:

1. Do think before you post.  If you’re about to say something via social media, email or text message, ask yourself this question “Would I regret sending this if it were to end up on the cover of the Canberra Times?” If the answer is yes, then don’t post it.

If you are involved in, or do become involved in litigation, social media posts are often included in evidence, and may be seen by the Judge deciding your case. So bear this in mind. Think about how it may reflect on you and if it could be taken out of context.

2. Do not make disparaging comments about your former partner on social media. You may come to regret it, and it is usually much better that you take the higher ground. It may feel satisfying in the short term to vent about them publicly but longer term it is unlikely to serve you well.

3. If your former partner has, or previously has had access to your email, Facebook, Instagram or LinkedIn page do update your password. Similarly, if your icloud account is linked with your former partner, create a new account.

4. If you are in a new relationship do think about whether it’s necessary for you to announce your news to the whole world straight away. Also be mindful about what your new partner is sharing on social media.

5. Do not talk about your Court proceedings. Obviously, it is unwise to do so, but it is also a criminal offence to publish information in relation to Court proceedings and to identify those involved publicly. There can be very serious consequences for doing so.

6. Do not engage in arguments on social media. If friends or family members of your former partner make unfair or unpleasant comments about you, or the circumstances surrounding your separation, unfollow them. Do not be tempted to bite back.

7. If you have concerns for your safety do not post your location or address on social media. If at any time you have concerns for your safety, you should contact Police.

If you have recently separated and are seeking specialist family law advice, contact Robinson + McGuinness Family Law to schedule an appointment by phone on 02 6225 7040, or email us at [email protected].