It’s tempting. So tempting.
After a particularly bad phone call or email from your ex-spouse, you’d love nothing better than to make everyone you know on social media aware of their bad behaviour. You sure could do with the sympathy, right?
Here are some reasons why you back away from your computer at this point and take out your frustration on a punching bag.
Think Before You Post
Would you like your post to be shown to your children or to the judge who is deciding your case? Will it show poor parental judgement? Could it be taken as abusive or threatening behaviour? If in doubt, don’t post. People will post pictures to show their friends their new set of golf clubs, the car they just bought, or how much they’re enjoying the Hawaiian resort’s all-inclusive daiquiris.
But they don’t realize how those pictures can come back to haunt them when they claim they can’t possibly afford to pay a certain level of child support or property settlement. The Family Law Act requires full and frank disclosure of the financial affairs of both partners who have to swear an oath and set out a complete statement of income, expenses, assets, financial resources and liabilities. Of course, some people lie on oath and in these cases it is best to get professional help from an experienced family lawyer in a bid to unravel any deception. The court in recent years has been very harsh on people who have not fully and frankly disclosed their proper financial position.
Check Your Privacy Settings
Just because you’ve de-friended your ex doesn’t mean that they may still be able to see your posts through mutual friends. You may not want your ex to see what your weekend plans are or what you’ve been doing with the kids. Make sure you’ve checked your privacy settings thoroughly.
Don’t Bad Mouth Your Ex
Once it’s on the Internet, it’s there forever. One day, your kids might see what you’ve said. Most importantly, it creates confusion, guilt, sadness, insecurity and oftentimes depression in kids. When you put down their other parent, your children are likely to interpret it as a put-down of part of them. It’s also bad for you. While in the grip of anger, we feel powerful and satisfied, but it’s a quick fix. However, these “solutions” are usually nothing more than temporary fixes, which allow us to white knuckle it through one more day. Meanwhile, the root of the problem continues to fester and get worse until we can’t even bear to look at it anymore. Resentments are like swallowing poison and expecting the other people to die. Rather than venting your anger on social media, ask for help from a doctor or counsellor to help you heal.
There Could Be Legal Ramifications
Things you write online may not be as harmless as you think.
A West Australian man has successfully sued his estranged wife for defamation over a Facebook post that suggested she was the victim of domestic violence, after a Perth court found she could not prove the statement was true. Bunbury teacher Miro Dabrowski was awarded $12,500 in damages at the West Australian district court in December by Justice Michael Bowden.
The offending post, which was posted on his estranged wife Robyn Greeuw’s public Facebook profile in December 2012, read: “Separated from Miro Dabrowski after 18 years of suffering domestic violence and abuse. Now fighting the system to keep my children safe.”
Three witnesses, including Dabrowski’s girlfriend, who split up with him for 10 months after reading the post, and his brother, who took the screenshots used in the case, told the court the post caused them to doubt his character. Dabrowski told the court he was concerned the post would affect his teaching career.
In finding the case in his favour, Bowden said Dabrowski was “an experienced educator and is entitled to public vindication”.
Social Media Can Be Used As A Tool To Harrass, Stalk or Intimidate
If you’ve left an abusive relationship, be aware that technolgical abuse is as real and harmful as physical abuse. Abusers use social media to check up, control, harass and intimidate their victims, even once the relationship has ended.
Technological abuse is more common among younger members of the community but its incidence is rising quickly. Forms of technological abuse include:
- Hacking into someone’s personal email account, computer or phone
- Using tracking devices to monitor someone’s location, phone calls and messages
- Monitoring interactions on social media
- Demanding to know passwords
- Distributing humiliating, false or intimate videos or photos without consent
- Sending messages, emails or texts that are abusive, intimidating or threatening
- Stealing a person’s identity or impersonating them
If you have any questions about separation, divorce, property settlements or parenting arrangements, please contact us today for a FREE, 10-minute phone consultation.