We are all plugged in. And for most of us, we are all plugged in nearly all of the time. From the palm of our hand, we have email, text, mobile phones, messaging accounts, social networks – and then some. We’d like to think that our electronic lives are secured by passwords and encryptions – even in spite of far-reaching international cyber hacking across many of our most frequented platforms – but ultimately, we all have a digital footprint. And it likely runs deeper than we even realize.
And if you’re getting divorced in the digital age, you’ll quickly find that technology can be both a blessing and a curse for those in the throes of separation. While technology can make us feel connected to others when we feel most vulnerable and alone, it can also serve to deepen the chasm of pain and disconnect when those same communication channels are used for vengeance.
Divorcing couples – and their attorneys – often deal with two kinds of digital distress: high-tech sleuthing and social media, and both are now easier than ever to access, use and misuse.
Here are a few points to consider before you put fingertip-to-technology.
To spy or not to spy? Just because you can spy on your spouse doesn’t mean that you should. Lurking social profiles, Googling the people they interact with, searching the friends of your mutual friends to see if they’re friends with their new ‘friend,’ looking up any unrecognized numbers on the cell phone bill you still share – that’s all cyber spying, and more often than not, it does far more harm than good. Often, we hear our clients tell us that they’re only looking for information to share with us in order to help their case. But while digging for dirt might fill you with a sense of accomplishment or superiority, it can become an addiction that imprisons you in a defunct, dysfunctional relationship. When you get the urge to search, don’t.
Reconsider that status update. If you’re involved in a challenging divorce, it’s important to remember that everything you post is fair game to be twisted, misinterpreted and used against you. Those pictures from your recent boys’ night out? Photos of your children at an establishment that serves alcohol? Flirty comments from prospective suitors? A judge may not care about them – but then again, they might. So why risk it? Keep your online reputation clean by keeping all details about your location, activities and children to yourself.
Remember it’s not all bad. While technology may offer plenty of downsides and pitfalls to divorcing couples, it has its merits, too. Skype and FaceTime help non-custodial parents stay in contact with their children between visits by providing ‘face-to-face’ calls that help maintain closeness and routine for children. Facebook, Instagram and other such networking sites can also help divorced families stay in contact long after the divorce is final, and maybe slowly start to repair fractured relationships over time.
Regardless of the technological tools available, divorce can prove tricky. By setting boundaries, remaining mindful and finding the silver lining technology can offer a divorced family, you can help reduce the chances of a digital disaster.
Choosing the right divorce lawyer to guide you through your divorce is one of the most important divorce-related decisions you’ll make. Call Tampa divorce attorney Christina Anton Garcia and the team of divorce attorneys at Anton Garcia Law for an experienced family law practice dedicated to ‘Representing Your Best Interests.’