High social media use could lead to divorce

Two studies published in April 2014 have demonstrated a link between frequent social media use and increased divorce.

Two studies published in April of 2014 have revealed a link between spouses being highly active on social media sites and increased divorce rates. People should be aware of the potential correlation between social media use and divorce, as well as how to use social media responsibly while going through divorce.

Studies link social media use and divorce

The first study, published in the journal Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, looked at how Twitter use affected people's interpersonal relationships. Researchers surveyed 581 Twitter users aged 18 to 67 years old to find out how much they used Twitter and how satisfied they were with their relationships. Researchers assessed strength of Twitter use based on how often they log into the site, post tweets, reply to tweets, scroll through the newsfeed and reply to personal messages. The study showed that those who spent the most time on Twitter were more likely to get involved in confrontations that result in infidelity and divorce.

The second study, published in the journal Computers in Human Behavior, tried to determine whether there was a link between Facebook use and divorce. Researchers examined state-level data for divorce rates and Facebook penetration from 2008 through 2010. They found that for each 20 percent increase in Facebook use there was a corresponding 2.18 percent increase in divorce rates. Additionally, researchers analyzed data from a study conducted in 2011-2012 wherein participants answered questions about the quality of their marriages and their social media use. Those who spent more time on social media sites reported being less satisfied with their marriages and were more likely to have considered divorce.

Using social media during divorce

While there may be a correlation between social media use and divorce, once you have made the decision to divorce you need to be sure that you are careful how you conduct yourself online. The American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers reported in 2013 that 80 percent of attorneys had seen an increase in evidence gathered from social media sites in divorce and child custody proceedings in the previous five years.

You should keep some things in mind when using social media during divorce:

  • Avoid angry comments about your spouse or the divorce process, as your spouse may use these comments to portray you as emotionally unstable or aggressive.
  • Do not post pictures that could be interpreted the wrong way and be used by your spouse to show that you are an unfit parent or are squandering marital assets.
  • Be wary of "checking in" at various locations with various people, which leaves a potential trail of your movements and associations.
  • Do not accept new friend requests from strangers during the divorce, as it may be someone working for your spouse to try to collect information to use against you in the divorce.

Speak with an attorney

No matter what the reason for the deterioration of your marriage, once you have made the decision to get a divorce you should seek the assistance of a skilled divorce attorney to help you through the process. An experienced attorney will look out for your interests and help make things go as smoothly as possible. If you have questions about divorce, talk to a seasoned divorce attorney who can advise you about your situation.

Keywords: divorce; dissolution; child custody; spousal support; child support