Kevin Costner is having a tough time keeping his messy divorce from wife Christine Baumgartner under wraps. Sources close to both parties have leaked details to the press about the couple’s haggling over finances, their home, and Christine’s request for $250,000 in monthly child support.
However, even when the paparazzi and tabloids are not following your every move, it’s still easy to feel the sting of public scrutiny when it comes to your divorce: co-workers wondering why your address has changed; questions from neighbors when spotting a moving van; DMs from friends on social media inquiring why your spouse is conspicuously absent in your latest vacation photos.
The inquiring minds in your immediate circles can be just as tenacious as TMZ in finding out the details of your divorce, and that’s why it can be critical to develop a privacy strategy to help you navigate awkward questions and effectively manage social media during divorce.
Need a strategy for protecting your privacy? Keep the following tips in mind when fielding prying questions at work, or on Facebook and Instagram.
Prepare a public statement. No, you probably won’t need a PR person to deliver the news, but you should prepare sample “scripts” to answer probing questions about your changing circumstances. Whatever you say, make it classy and offer broad strokes (no details) only. Here’s an example: “After much deliberation, we’ve decided divorce is the best path forward for our family. Our focus is on being the best co-parents we can be and while we appreciate your concern, we also ask that our privacy be respected.” You and your spouse can be proactive by emailing a joint statement to shared contacts, or you can just have the statement in mind as talking points when you tell people in person.
Divorce and social media etiquette. Your innermost feelings about your soon-to-be-ex and your divorce are important, but save them for your journal, your therapist, or trusted friends. Social media is the last place you should be displaying photos of your new paramour (especially before you have a final judgment!) or posting memes about toxic narcissists. Revealing this information may give you a momentary high, but it’s really a covert way of messaging your ex and/or other people about how fabulous your post-marriage life is, or what “really” went on when you were married.
To avoid all this drama, a growing trend among divorcing spouses is to establish a “social media post-nuptial agreement” that outlines terms about what not to post on Facebook or otherwise share via social media sites, including any images or content that could be construed as negative, insulting, embarrassing, or unflattering. Your attorney can help you draw up terms (similar to a “gag order”).
Also, if you haven’t changed your social media settings to private, do so asap! And remember: even when your settings are set to private, friends who might be “double-agents” can relay your posts back to your spouse.
Confide in chosen “safe people.” Pick one or two trusted support people you know will not betray your confidence – or fuel your pain with their own anger at your spouse or anxiety about your future. The most empathetic person may not be the best ally if they can’t regulate their own emotions or simply need to be in other people’s business. When identifying “safe people,” look for those who are level-headed, lead low-drama lives, and have good boundaries. Treat anyone not in this category like a business associate – be polite, but use a more circumspect communication style and don’t wear your heart on your sleeve.
Be on your best behavior in public. If you want to keep your divorce private, aim to be on your best behavior in public settings. Don’t glare at your spouse at Little League games, have emotional outbursts at your kids’ school functions, or try to divide and conquer other parents at birthday parties. People will have less to gossip about when they see you interacting with your spouse respectfully, or simply observe you to be doing just fine.
A final note: even when you’re following all these tips, there will always be a nosy parker who wants to stir up drama. If someone you don’t know well dishes to you about your ex, or simply takes an unusually keen interest in your business, just stick to a neutral, diplomatic response that demonstrates your focus on your children’s well-being.
Have questions about divorce? Wherever you are in the process, even if you are just considering the possibility and want to learn more, we can help. Please contact us today at 888-888-0919 to schedule your initial consultation at one of our conveniently located offices.
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