The Impact of Social Media in Divorce Proceedings: Dos and Don’ts

People often become highly suspicious of their ex after a separation, particularly where children or money are involved. Emotions can run high, trust can break down, and the impulse to see the absolute worst in a once beloved individual can become overridingly strong. In this state, an individual risks transforming into the “divorce detective”, on the hunt for any clue that their ex is a bad person, a bad parent, or hiding money.

In the eyes of a divorce detective, innocuous pictures and videos become the smoking gun that will prove that their ex is evil incarnate. Fortunately (or perhaps unfortunately), social media accounts can be a goldmine for such evidence. A picture of the ex with a beer in hand is now proof of parenting while intoxicated. A video of the kids smiling while in the car now shows a clear failure to properly adjust a booster seat.

Such content usually means little in court, but it can be frustrating and time-consuming to deal with. No one wants to spend a day with a lawyer answering questions such as “how many drinks did you have on the evening of May 23, 2022?”   

If you think your ex has become a divorce detective, the best practice is to limit your social media activity, or avoid it altogether. But if you need to stay online, here are some dos and don’ts to keep your social media presence out of the courts.


  1. Be kind and respectful. This is always good practice, but in particular be kind and respectful to your ex when you are in the midst of the family law process. Remember that your intended tone does not always translate onto the page, so when sending a text, email, or DM, don’t leave any room for ambiguity.
  2. Restrict who can see your social media feeds. Most apps have settings allowing you to restrict who can see what you post, so make your posts visible only to a select group of people you trust. If you are considering posting anything inappropriate for your children, first of all don’t, but if you do, make sure your children are restricted from seeing it.


  1. Flaunt your new post-breakup lifestyle. Just because you rented a jet ski for a couple of hours does not mean you are disentitled to spousal support. But, post a picture of it online and you can bet that’s the argument your ex will make in court. Suddenly, you are living a “lavish lifestyle” while they are “financially destitute” and cannot possibly pay support. As cool as jet skis are, keep it to yourself.
  2. Comment about your case publicly. Parties in family law proceedings have a broad obligation to disclose all relevant information. This can include highly sensitive information about your ex such as medical records, tax documents, and police files. Sharing such information publicly is a bad look, and it is also prohibited under Section 5(2) of the Family Law Act. Similarly, while the ups and downs of your case may be interesting, don’t chronicle them online. Discussing your case publicly is an invasion of your ex’s privacy that will earn you the disapproval of the court.
  3. Comment about the other party publicly. If your ex has done something egregious, leave it to the court to decide the consequences, not the court of public opinion. Calling out your ex online will shift the court’s attention to you when it should be focused on addressing your ex’s behaviour.
  4. Post anything related to drugs or alcohol. No,it should not matter that you had a few drinks during the other parent’s parenting week. Could it be used against you anyway? Absolutely.
  5. Be rude, argumentative, or hostile to your ex (or anyone else). It doesn’t matter how unreasonable or out of line your ex is being, you will never help your case by fighting fire with fire. It can be exceedingly challenging to take the high road, but remember that any time you lose your cool you are hurting your ex emotionally as well as yourself in court. In short, nobody wins.

The number of pitfalls you could encounter in posting on social media are potentially endless. Sure, you could delete your apps and spare yourself this worry, but you are entitled to a life after separation and social media may be a part of that. So just exercise a bit of extra caution before you hit “post” and ask yourself “would I want a judge to see this?” If the answer is no, it may be best to let it go. 

About Daniel MacNeill

Lawyer – Vancouver

My guiding principles as a family lawyer are compassion and pragmatism. I understand the unique, and often emotionally fraught, challenges that come with any separation and offer calm and practical guidance through a difficult time. I see separation as a transition, not a “new normal”, and work with my clients to reach a positive resolution so they can move forward with their lives.