We share so much of our personal lives on social media, but have you ever set rules with your partner or even had a conversation about what you're comfortable posting online? What about the picture in your swimsuit, or drinking, or while on vacation?
More couples are now legally spelling out the online do’s and don’ts in social media prenuptial agreements.
“We've seen a rise in social media becoming an issue in a divorce,” says Tampa lawyer Robyn Bonivich.
Bonivich says she sees social media driving a wedge in relationships.
She says “81% of my peers, other family law attorneys, have seen this become an issue either prior to the divorce or during the divorce proceedings."
A study by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers supports that figure.
Sure, prenups are common for rich celebrities, but Bonivich says it's important for you to protect your online reputation and include a social media clause. If you’ve already gotten hitched, maybe before social media popularity, there are post-nuptial agreements spelling out online rules.
“It can really ruin someone's reputation, so we have to be careful. Couples should definitely be talking about it,” says Bonivich.
The social media prenup can define what you and your spouse are allowed to post about the other, including videos, photos and comments, also specific dates. Do you want the social media clause to cover you throughout the marriage or only if you’re going through a divorce.
Not everyone is convinced that a social media prenup is necessary.
“I just laugh about it, and think how sick and twisted and messed up it is, that we have to tie that into something, we’re supposed to be with someone who we’re supposed to be spending the rest of our lives with,” says one man.
“I would not put it in a prenup. It seems kind of ridiculous almost to put it in a prenup. What kind of relationship do you have if you can't communicate with one another and have your words be honored by the other person,” says KC Conover.
“It's definitely worth a conversation, when it's being taken a little too far. People use it as a vengeance. People use it as ways to get back at the other person,” says Dave Eustace.
But Bonivich sees couples at their worst, “The Husband was on match.com and meeting women, and he was posting photos of women he met in the wife's clothes on social media. It was very upsetting to her and made the divorce not a very friendly divorce.”
It's why she says there needs to be pre-set penalties, not only for the heartbreak, but breaking the social media rules.
“You're going to miss out on $50,000 that you might've received as part of the marital estate, or you're not going to receive as much spousal support per month. It's no different than entering into a business partnership. You have an agreement if the partnership did dissolve, it's not a mess,” says Bonivich.
Do you do post about any of these online: big purchases like a car, vacations, drinking? Bonivich warns clients that social media can be a treasure trove of ammunition during a divorce.
Her advice: always post like your grandparent, church leader, or boss will see it.
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