Divorce attorneys dread dealing with their client's social media accounts. Many divorce attorneys advise their clients to put their social media accounts on hold until the divorce and custody issues are over. But what can you do if you happen to make your livelihood through social media? If you're a professional blogger, Youtuber, or other social media maven that relies on your followers for your income, you can't just step away from the keyboard. Here is a guide that you can use.
1.) Say nothing negative about your spouse.
The issue of your divorce and social media may be even more complicated if your spouse was once part of your online enterprise or often took on a guest role. Many online enterprises appeal to "niche" groups and have somewhat insular communities. That means that news travels fast and you and your spouse may continue to cross paths.
It doesn't matter what happened between you and your spouse that brought you to the divorce. Simply make the announcement that you are separated and going through a divorce by changing your status on your Facebook feed and other accounts to "single." If reducing the whole thing to an emoticon doesn't seem right, you can make the announcement more official—but make it clear that it's a private issue and you won't be discussing it online. Don't comment on the reasons for the divorce and don't give in to the temptation to say anything negative about your spouse.
This is important because once the divorce starts rolling, the courts often issue a non-disparagement clause that requires both spouses to simply say nothing at all if they can't say something nice. Allegations of infidelity or complaints about slow support can hurt your spouse's reputation among his or her friends, coworkers, and the online community to which you both belong. They can also discredit your spouse in front of your children, which can make the court see you as unconcerned with your children's emotional well-being and unwilling to cooperate with a parenting plan.
2.) Lock any post about the divorce so that subscribers can't ask questions or make comments.
Maybe your spouse dropped out of the online community, and maybe your online followers picked up on your less-than-happy circumstances. Loyal subscribers and followers may feel that it's necessary to come to your defense and speak up for you since you aren't saying anything. This can be especially true if someone (like your spouse or one of his or her online followers) is actively disparaging you online.
However, you don't want to be accused of inciting your supporters or using them to trash-talk your spouse on your behalf, so make it clear that the announcement post is locked and won't accept comments. If you're contacted publicly or in private messages for details, simply respond that you'd rather not discuss the issue at this time and let it go at that.
3.) Do not discredit your spouse's abilities in your online community.
If you're splitting up the business and you've taken over primary control of the existing enterprise, don't drop hints that belittle your spouse's past contributions. Allow his or her reputation to stay intact. You don't want to be accused of sabotaging your spouse's ability to make a living.
Similarly, if you've given up primary control of the main website because it was more your spouse's endeavor, put the work on your resume but don't undercut your spouse's reputation by claiming that you built the website or business and had it "stolen" from you during the divorce.
For more information on how to handle a divorce that can't help but be public, talk to an attorney like those found at Father's Rights for Equality in Divorce.