Divorce Blog

Welcome to the 21st Century: Social Media and Divorce

By Karen Stewart

Man TextingWelcome to the 21st century; where you can find love online and then serve them with divorce papers in the same manner. With social media and divorce coexisting today, what should you know?

For those that have not logged on, a New York judge has said that the social media site, Facebook, is an acceptable way for a Brooklyn woman to serve her husband with divorce papers. Of course, this case has a number of complications that support the judge’s decision. There, however, are many challenging opinions regarding this case. In my very own office, an employee asked: “what is the world coming to that we use social media to facilitate a divorce?”

Social Media and Divorce

That question sat with me for the rest of the afternoon and evening. I found myself bouncing back and forth on my opinion regarding this case. My internal debate broke down the opposing perspectives on the topic and it resulted in the ultimate question of the battle: why are people still trying to maintain the privacy of divorce when it is unachievable?

The chase of attempting to make divorce private is a fraud. You may keep specific details from people that you believe do not need to know the details. This decision, however, is nothing but ironic for two different reasons:

Court records and court proceedings, in most circumstances, are open to the public. The article Divorce by Facebook states that “your friends, colleagues, neighbours, and the curious could learn the details of the accusations made by you and by your spouse, or partner regardless of the truth of these allegations”. This demonstrates that keeping the process of divorce between the once was couple is in fact just an illusion.

Additionally, couples get married in a public manner and publicly change their relationship status to “married” on Facebook . The happy couple receives congratulations from family, friends and acquaintances. Through their relationship, the couple will publically post memories of being with one another. This allows people to comment on this public display. This is a popular display of love online; but what online announcements happen when this happy couple gets divorced? Before the divorce is even complete, I am confident that each partner changes their Facebook relationship status back to “single” or “complicated”; this status changes publicly announces your private relationship to the public. And if you do not put the details of your divorce on Facebook, they can easily research your divorce proceedings on their own.

The woman from Brooklyn who served her husband papers online, therefore, didn’t challenge the privacy of divorce. She took control of what wasn’t private and used it to support her through her divorce.

Dear readers and fellow bloggers, what are your thoughts and experiences on the privacy of divorce?