In any divorce process, privacy becomes an issue, and your children are not immune to this reality. Not only are there likely to be nosy questions from neighbors and other kids at school or church, but divorce attorneys will often probe social media looking for evidence—and sometimes this includes the children’s interactions. Here are 7 ways you can help guard your family’s privacy during a divorce.
1. Agree on a “family statement.”
To reduce your children’s exposure to probing questions from nosy friends and neighbors, talk to the kids and agree on a sort of “family statement,” a generic description of what’s happening in your family that avoids assigning blame or revealing too many details. Advise your children that there’s nothing to be ashamed of; you’re just temporarily controlling the news about your family during the divorce. Remind the children that it’s okay to keep answers short, or even to say, “I’d prefer not to talk about it right now.”
2. Minimize the gossip.
It’s natural to want to vent your frustrations to trusted confidantes, but remember that any family gossip can go public when spoken to the wrong people. Advise your children to be cautious about revealing sensitive information even to close friends—and you do the same.
3. Change passwords regularly.
If there’s any chance your ex knows passwords to financial accounts or social media, these passwords need to be changed to keep these private during the divorce—both yours and the children’s accounts.
4. Keep divorce talk off social media.
Social media outlets like Twitter or Facebook are not the right places to vent about the divorce, either for you or the children, because they can be used as evidence. Keep these interactions to in-person conversations for now.
5. Watch the emails.
Emails are permanent documentation and can be subpoenaed. You and the children should both avoid using email to talk about sensitive divorce information.
6. Watch the texts.
Texts should follow the same rules as emails—in fact, texts are now the most common form of evidence in divorce proceedings. Avoid using text to talk about divorce stuff.
7. Limit or turn off GPS functions on smartphones.
Sometimes, unscrupulous lawyers or private investigators like to track your location (or even your children’s location) using the GPS features on smartphones. To protect privacy, turn these features off for now, or only use them when someone genuinely needs directions.
An article in Divorce Magazine says it best: “If you’re going through a divorce, it’s always best to pretend that anything you write, tweet, text, or send digitally will one day be read in front of a judge.” Protect your family’s privacy by guarding your conversation and words, especially on digital outlets.