Kim and Ye: A Lesson in What Not to Post on Social Media During Your Divorce
By now, everyone knows that Kim Kardashian and the Rapper Ye, formerly known as Kanye West, went through a very public divorce that recently settled. While it appears that Kim has moved on and Kanye may already be remarried, we can still learn from the social media frenzy that followed their divorce.
Kim filed for divorce in 2020. Their divorce made headlines when Ye began posting on Instagram to express his frustration with Kim and the entire divorce process. His posts included text messages directly from Kim and comments about her parenting of their children. Kim responded in kind only once, telling him to speak to his attorney. All of Ye’s posts have since been deleted. The posts have invited public opinion into a very private matter. Unfortunately, this behavior is not reserved for public figures. Many find themselves subjected to public scrutiny when their spouse decides to post the details of their divorce, negotiations of same, and instances of conflict caused by the separation of the divorcing parties.
What Ye and other divorcing parties do not understand as they are hitting the “post” button is: In California, just as in New Jersey, social media posts are admissible as evidence in a Court of law. What does that mean? Custody, equitable distribution, child support, spousal support etc. can all be affected by what you post on your social media.
1. Never write anything on any of your social media accounts that you would not want a Judge to hear.
While social media is a reflection of your real life and many people use it to document events in their life, do not use social media as an opportunity to document your divorce. Don’t use social media as a diary or to update your friends as to this really big life event.
If you got a new car, went on vacation, etc. That’s awesome! Don’t post it on social media and then attempt to negotiate a low alimony buyout, or request a downward modification of your alimony or child support post-divorce. A picture speaks for itself. You won’t always have the opportunity to explain the circumstances of the trip – like financing it entirely with airline miles, tagging along on a friend’s all-inclusive vacation or even winning The Price is Right.
It is also important to understand that you may not even realize that your posts contain anything relevant or even detrimental to your divorce, but lawyers can and will analyze your posts for information to support your spouse’ position.
2. Don’t use social media in place of a therapist or trusted confidant.
Don’t do anything that will intentionally trigger or elicit a response from your spouse. There is no benefit to doing this – it may feel good in the moment, but it often causes more problems during the divorce process.
If you really need to express yourself about your spouse, do it with your therapist or your attorney, whichever is more appropriate in that moment. Do not “publish” your thoughts about your spouse, it is not beneficial to you, to your spouse, to your child(ren), or to your overall case.
3. Even if you make your profile private, your spouse may still see your posts.
Do not assume that just because you have “defriended” your spouse, your posts are not available to them. Don’t assume that people you are friends with won’t share that information with your spouse. No matter how close you are, there are some people that will take any opportunity to be a part of the “drama.” It is extremely simple for someone to take a screenshot and share it with someone that you did not intend to see it.
What should you do if your ex is making these mistakes? Take a screenshot and inform your lawyer.
4. Even if you delete a post, it’s not gone.
If you have a moment of weakness and post something you’re not supposed to, or something that looks bad, it doesn’t necessarily disappear when you delete it. Always assume that someone will screenshot your posts. Will it be detrimental to you if it’s posted? Then, don’t post.
5. When in doubt, don’t post.
Ultimately, the best practice is to stop posting anything personal on social media during the pendency of a divorce. If you don’t post anything, you don’t give your spouse any fuel for their retaliation. If you do choose to continue using social media, don’t post anything negative about the divorce or your spouse. Don’t use social media as your therapist. Don’t vent or look for support using social media. Obviously, divorce can be an extremely emotional time and you should lean on your trusted support system for support, but don’t do it in a public forum that can be used in the court as evidence, such as social media.
At the end of the day, if you are going to continue to use your social media accounts during the course of your divorce, use them sparingly and be conscious about what you are posting. If any part of you thinks “I shouldn’t post this”, don’t post it.
If this seems like too many rules for you, consider taking a break from social media, or at least a break from posting, until your divorce is finalized.
6. It’s not over ‘til it’s over.
Finally, just because your divorce is finalized doesn’t mean you should stop being mindful about your social media posts. Many of the terms of a divorce agreement are modifiable, especially those concerning your children so make sure you are not posting anything that could be a cause to modify your agreement.
If you’re concerned about something you’ve posted on social media or you have seen something concerning on your ex-spouse’s social media, take a screenshot and contact us at HunnellLaw.com/Contact to determine the best way to address the issue.
A Post-Divorce ChecklistRead Now
After weeks, months, or even years of what feels like the hardest time of your life: it’s over. You’re finally divorced and now you can kick back and relax, right? Not quite. After your divorced is finalized, before you can settle in you have to tie up those loose ends and actually complete the process. Here’s a general list to guide you through the next steps:
2. Change your Passwords
Netflix, Facebook, Email, Bank Accounts, Retirement Accounts, the list goes on. In this post-pandemic world, we rely more and more on online accounts and resources. The fastest way to access these accounts is, obviously, using your passwords. I think we have all heard stories of people finding out that their ex still has access and is using their Netflix account, then they change the Netflix password right before their ex’s favorite show premiers. However, failure to change passwords to your more important accounts can lead to more serious consequences. Your ex’s unauthorized access to your bank accounts, phone records, etc. can be an invasion of privacy and in some cases can be outright dangerous. Make sure that you take the time to change all of your old passwords, even if you are unsure that the other person knows or has access to them.
3. Update your Privacy Settings
Now that you’ve changed your passwords, make sure that your online accounts are secure by changing your privacy settings. Many accounts can be accessed through social security numbers or personal questions for gaining access. If you filed joint tax returns, your ex has your social security number, they probably also know your mother’s maiden name and the name of your first pet. Change your settings to make sure you are the only one with access to your information.
4. Change your Name
If you were granted a name change as part of the Judgment of Divorce, make sure that you update all of your accounts, get your new Social Security card, update your license and let your employer know that your name is legally changed.
5. Bank Accounts and Credit Cards
Make sure that all of the joint accounts, including bank accounts and credit cards, are closed in accordance with the terms of the divorce. If necessary, establish your own private bank account.
6. Update your Beneficiaries
Make sure that your beneficiaries are updated on your bank accounts, retirement accounts, life insurance policies, etc. You should also take time to update your Last Will and Testament and any other estate planning that you have done.
These are just a few of the steps you should take after your divorce is finalized. If you have any questions about this topic or divorce in general, or if you need assistance adjusting the terms of your Judgment of Divorce, reach out to us at HunnellLaw.com/contact to speak to an attorney.
Stephanie Hunnell, Esq. , Ryan Westerman, Esq. and Caitlin Holland, Esq.