As the internet has become a part of daily life, more details of our private lives are now available for friends, family and coworkers at the click of a mouse. The consequences of putting our private lives online are emerging in divorce cases. “More than 80 percent of lawyers surveyed by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers said Facebook is showing up in more divorce cases. Sixty-six percent called Facebook the unrivaled leader for online divorce evidence.”
While social media sites are generally not the root cause of divorce, the content contained on the individuals’ pages can be submitted as evidence in child custody disputes and property settlements. People using social media often post pictures of nights out and vacations, status updates about what they are doing or thinking and comments on other people’s posts can be incredibly incriminating.
Divorce provokes a variety of emotions including anger and revenge. Before acting on those emotions, it is recommended that if you are going through a divorce with your spouse that you also need to divorce your social media sites. The best thing you can do to protect yourself online is to create as minimal a presence as possible.
Anger and revenge may get the best of individuals when they initiate their divorce without contemplating alternatives to litigation. Mediation is an alternative to costly and time consumptive litigation. Mediation saves between 40-90% of the cost of a litigated divorce where couples “lawyer up” and end up paying double which includes retainers and hourly fees.
When couples agree to Mediate, in essence they have agreed to come together to discuss, negotiate and agree on the terms of their divorce. Both parties must be in agreement to Mediate. This is not to say that the couples come in to Mediate as “best friends”, there can and often is conflict. The Mediator is a neutral party who’s role is to get the parties to come to an agreement that is far and equitable to both. The Mediator is a professional neutral party trained to keep the parties focused and on task and to provide assistance in developing options based on the couples unique circumstances. Too often you run into people who describe their divorce as being the absolute worst time in their lives whether it be from an emotional or financial perspective, even if many years have past. Couples who decide to Mediate often do not experience this. They are truly able to move on and not hold on to any bitterness because they and only they are the ones who decide the terms of their divorce.