Divorce is Ugly As It Is — But Now Our Online Lives Are in the Mix
Divorce proceedings can get ugly, no question about it. When two people disagree over a relationship, there is a lot to dissolve between the two parties. Simple items like furniture are easy to separate because of bills, but lingering anger between the two parties may make custody and other aspects of the divorce proceedings difficult to manage.
With a growing number of attorneys claiming that they go to the web to track down incriminating evidence on a spouse in a divorce, being conscious of your online presence is essential.
1. Lock Down Social Media
One of the first things you should do is lock down your social media accounts and reevaluate what’s on your pages. Remove incriminating photos of you intoxicated, or anything you would not want your mother (or a judge) to see.
Next, restrict access to your posts. Facebook allows you to make posts to a custom list of users, so make a list of your closest friends and shield yourself from harm by restricting the audience that can view your posts.
Look through your comments for disparaging remarks and delete them. On Twitter, where posts are public by default, enable the privacy settings to lock down your account.
2. Block Your Ex
Once you have locked down your accounts, block your former spouse's access to your important sites. Many couples exchange passwords for services like the family bank account, billing management software, or a password database. The simplest way to block your spouse is to change the passwords. For social media, you can break the relationship and block the user by visiting their pages and choosing the “block” option.
3. Deal with Slanderous Comments
One would hope that a spouse would not be vindictive, but pain can take many forms. If you find yourself under attack from anonymous comments, do some research into the Brand.com reviews of what is going on with online libel laws. There are some things you can do to get posts taken down. For starters, petition the site owner to see if the comments can be taken down. Many bloggers are legally protected from your claims of slander, but often going through the steps to send an email and a DMCA takedown notice will do the trick.
Under certain circumstances, you may not legally have the right to edit or alter comments on a review site. That’s why you should be more proactive with your reputation online.
4. Mount a Public Relations Campaign
To counter negative opinion, you can start your own PR campaign that points out the highlights and social accolades of your career. Awards you have earned, civic duties you perform and outside community organizations you belong to can all act as indexed content that bolsters your reputation. Write a press release to talk about an event you volunteered at, and then include a quote from you talking about it.
You can also qualify yourself as an expert by doing some writing and having it guest posted on other blogs. Writing about your business experience or background can provide inspirational material to readers across the web and make you look qualified in your niche. Pull your data from reputable sources and draw from your own experience. Avoid talking about your family or personal matters; keep things strictly professional.
5. Future Correspondence
You may need to change your phone number, email address or other correspondence to avoid unwanted communication with your ex. Try adopting a policy for yourself where you save messages to draft before sending, and take steps to make your communication anonymous. Tools like Snapchat and Mozilla Thunderbird are both useful for the privacy conscious user. Set up “Do Not Track” in your Web browser so that courts can’t track your search history.
Remember that your online reputation affects the real world more than ever. Review your data with an attorney and ask for recommendations on what, if anything, should be removed.