What may hurt the worst about a divorce may take you by surprise. While you may be bracing yourself for pain in certain areas of your life after you and your spouse decide to get a divorce, the things that pack the biggest wallop might be the things you never saw coming. One thing that many couples don't plan for is social media posting as their marriage comes to an end.

You probably don't want to log in to your social media accounts and discover that your ex and all his friends are publicly dissing you. On the other hand, it may hurt way more than you anticipated if your ex simply unfollows you. You don't have to be blindsided by any aspects of online posting. Follow these dos and don'ts to best handle this difficult topic during a divorce.

Do Plan an In-Depth Talk About Online Posts and Social Media with Your Ex

If you don't sit down and have an in-depth discussion with your ex about social media, you shouldn't be shocked if your former life partner makes posts that don't meet your approval. When you sit down and discuss how you will both proceed on social media, you can set standards, express expectations and feel a greater peace of mind when you agree on rules.

Plan the discussion, rather than just sitting down and having an impulsive talk. You need time to consider which things would bother you and decide what you are willing to compromise on. Some topics that you may want to discuss include:

  • Whether mentioning the children should be completely off-limits for both parents.
  • How to publicly answer divorce-related questions and comments on social media pages.
  • Whether you will remain "friends" on Facebook and otherwise follow each other on social media.
  • When to publicly announce the divorce and what to say when you do.

Make a list of things to discuss that matter to you. No matter what you decide to discuss, be sure to express what you want and listen to what your ex wants.

Don't Share Personal Information That Can Be Used Against You

When you are going through a divorce, it's typically best to keep social media posts to a bare minimum. Think of any facts that you share online as things that may be used against you. For example, posting about something as simple as an expensive spa day or shopping for kids' clothes at a department store may be picked over with a fine-tooth comb.

The New York Times reported on how social media is a tool used by divorce lawyers in some situations, so don't be surprised if your spouse's divorce lawyer visits your social media pages. Also, don't assume that your friends-only posts are truly for only your friends, and consider whether what you post can make you look like a bad parent or an irresponsible person.

Do Monitor Your Kids' Online Activity

Parents are often held responsible for what their kids do. You don't want your children to go online and trash your ex. Okay, maybe you do, but it's important to protect them from the possible ramifications of bad decisions that can permanently remain online. Make sure that you set ground rules for your kids' social media activity during and after the divorce. 

Be sure that both you and your ex are in agreement on rules for the kids. If your children have a difficult time with self-control when it comes to online posts, you may choose to take away phones, tablets or computers. Be sure to strictly enforce social media rules during the divorce for their own protection.

Finally, keep in mind that communication is at the core of successfully navigating the tricky terrain of social media in the aftermath of a divorce. When in doubt, be sure that your best interests are protected by consulting your divorce attorney. Frank E. Dougherty & Associates helps clients in and around the Sacramento area with nearly all aspects of divorce law.