Is Facebook Your “Friend” If You’re Getting Divorced?

By | Published On: October 26, 2015

Although Facebook and other social media platforms are ubiquitous components of our channels of communication today, you’d be well-advised to think carefully about their role in your life if you’re going through a divorce.

Consider Jared’s situation. He and his wife have both retained divorce attorneys and appear to be headed toward a litigated resolution of their child-related and financial issues. Jared’s attorney has advised him to be careful about what he puts in his emails to his wife and on Facebook, and Jared has been carefully adhering to his advice. However, this guidance has not reached Jared’s girlfriend, who regularly posts photographs of her and Jared’s trips and other social events on her Facebook page. She also expresses her opinions about Jared’s wife, many of them unfavorable. Jared’s wife learned about all of this material from a friend of a friend and became enraged about some of the opinions expressed about her. In addition, her analysis of the dates of Jared’s trips with his girlfriend has made clear that Jared sometimes isn’t truthful about the reasons for his inability to adhere to his access schedule with his children. Jared’s divorce has become much more problematic when there was no need for this to happen.

So, what are some basic points about the use of Facebook when you’re getting divorced?

1. Consider taking down your Facebook site altogether

Although this is an extreme option, it may make sense for a specified period of time while you are going through the tough divorce period.

2. Make full use of your Facebook settings

Educate yourself fully about the range of Facebook settings to limit who has access to your Facebook page, including making your page “private” rather than “public,” limiting access to your wall only to certain individuals, and controlling your “timeline” and “tagging.”

3. Carefully monitor your content

This includes the tone you use, language you select and photographs you choose to post. Anticipate the likelihood your content will end up with your spouse even though they don’t have direct access to your page.

4. Make allies of key people in your life who are also on Facebook

Spend the time and effort to enroll your significant other, your family and your close friends in the effort to contain harmful content. Particularly if you have children, you will want to have a constructive settlement process to resolve the issues in your divorce. When emotions become unnecessarily inflamed because of negative material posted on Facebook, that constructive process becomes much more elusive. And the negativity can last long past the divorce itself into important post-divorce relationships.

In summary, be proactive and comprehensive in anticipating and avoiding the problems that Facebook content can create.

Katie O’Rourke, a family law attorney and partner at Tucker, helps divorce and family law clients in Washington D.C. and Maryland gain control of all aspects of their situation, including social media. Contact her at or schedule a consultation.

Learn more about the Tucker Family Law Team