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Beware of Bashing your Ex in Social Media

Published date: September 2016
Author: Judy Wilkins

The perfect, easy divorce is the exception to the rule! Many divorces turn ugly very quickly. Emotions run high as one or both parties do not agree on the primary residency of the children, or deliberately inflame or exaggerate things to children, family and friends in a misguided attempt to get everyone on their side.

Many couples involve outside people and often take to social media to express their feelings about the divorce. Having a private conversation with friends over wine and pizza is natural and not nearly as damaging as venting or bashing an ex in a public platform…doing this is a big mistake.

While it may give you some instant gratification; the post might get 10 shares, 58 likes and 30 comments on Facebook, this excitement may be short-lived as like with other platforms your social media posts can be used as evidence against you during divorce proceedings and further on when fighting for the custody of your children.

In addition, because the information shared to your social media page is made public, the other party will have grounds to sue you for defamation. The argument that the internet allows for freedom of expression without boundaries is no longer tolerated as recent wins in lawsuits have proven. The law of defamation says that as soon as the publication reaches a third party it has been published.This means that if you have a Facebook profile even if it only has three friends and you post a comment there, it has been published and therefore your content on your Facebook Profile – including your Tweets and Re-Tweets – is subject to defamation law. I successfully obtained a High Court interdict with costs for a client who was being defamed on Facebook by a friend who sided with his wife.

You need to seriously think about what is really on the line before having a rant andclicking post.

Divorce is one of the most challenging moments in one’s life as you are faced with the reality that you failed at keeping your marriage alive, whilst having to find a way to make the transition bearable for you and your kids.

Both parties need to learn to co-exist, put their hatred and anger aside so they can both decide on what’s best going forward. Especially if there are children involved, this goes beyond determining the terms of the agreement on how they will the divorce to include determining when and how both parties will disclose the news of the divorce to their children, family and friends. By agreeing up front how to communicate the news and work out the parenting plan and then sticking to this agreement,couples stand to have a somewhat reasonable divorce and most importantly the least amount of damage to the children.