These days, it is nearly impossible to get through a day without getting a series of Facebook updates on your smartphone.
There are, of course, people who have chosen never to use Facebook or the various other social media apps. However, because it is one of the most frequent ways people choose to communicate, it is impractical to take this hands-off approach to social media.
While many Facebook users are understandably tired of the seemingly never-ending birthday announcements and peer pressure to congratulate people, everyone is interested to see when a person changes their relationship status on his or her profile. When a person changes his or her status from single to being in a relationship and tags the person with whom he or she is in that relationship, many will click on the name to look at photos of the new love interest. In addition to the option to note your relationship status, there is also the option to say to whom you are married.
When someone gets a divorce or separates from their spouse, it is often a tough decision to change that status from married to single, knowing every one of that person's Facebook friends will receive a status update and are free to send messages and comment publicly on their wall.
A recent news article from the Boston Globe, takes a look at how to deal with posting divorce news on social media and how to respond to others who have changed their status in light of recent divorce or separation. This article featured the recent announcement by Miss Piggy and Kermit the Frog of the “Muppets,” saying they were ending their relationship “after careful thought, thoughtful consideration and considerable squabbling.”
As our Birmingham divorce attorneys have seen all too often, while this was obviously a joke involving fictional characters, social media comments and announcements play a major role in the divorce process and can even have legal implications, depending on what is said.
The article suggests that, whether we are talking about Muppet characters or real life celebrities, these frequent postings that a couple is still getting along and will work as co-parents are often nothing more than Hollywood fiction. In reality, the comments posted on Facebook accounts of people who are going through a divorce are often far more inflammatory, and this is especially a problem for couples who share a lot of mutual friends on social media applications.
While there is often nothing wrong with changing the status on your profile once you are actually divorced, it is often best not to post any comments about your spouse, and it is always a good idea not to get involved in any conversations involving disparaging remarks.
Getting involved in online fights can lead to nothing but problems, ranging from having to answer questions about the posts during a court order, to the issuance of stay-away no-contact orders. As is the case with any legal matters, it is generally a good idea not to comment on the situation and, instead, let your attorney speak on your behalf.
Divorce news tough to navigate on social media, August 7, 2015, Boston Globe, by Stephanie McFeeters