In today’s digitally connected world, your personal reputation can have a big impact on your social relationships, your professional opportunities and your overall standing in your community.
Unfortunately, a difficult divorce can leave your public image a bit worse for the wear – especially if the split is acrimonious. What can you do to limit the damage? Here are some suggestions:
Mind your online presence
Anything you share online has the potential for lasting consequences, even if it just inflames your spouse’s anger or bruises their ego enough to make the fighting worse. Ideally, you should probably take a total break from social media. At a minimum, refrain from venting about your divorce (or even “vaguebooking”) or your spouse online.
Set boundaries early
Do not say anything disparaging about your spouse, even if they’re disparaging you – and don’t tell everyone your divorce troubles, no matter how cathartic it may seem. You can set boundaries with other people by practicing neutral responses that don’t give away any details (or your real feelings). For example, if you’ve just been told your spouse is saying horrible things about you, something like, “It’s a difficult time for everybody right now,” will keep you from engaging and convey the idea that you aren’t interested in airing the dirty laundry.
Keep communication professional
Before you hit “send” on any email, text or instant message, consider how that would sound if it were read back in court or posted out-of-context online – because that’s exactly what could happen. Don’t be your own worst enemy by manufacturing material that can make you look like a terrible person: Keep all your written communications to your spouse succinct and professional.
Consider asking for a private judge
Your spouse may eventually realize that damage to your reputation may ultimately bleed over into your professional life – and that can have a negative effect on your ability to pay support or your net worth and the property division process. If your spouse is inclined to listen to reason on that front (or has secrets of their own they’d prefer to keep), you may be able to hire a private judge. That can help you avoid a public court battle and further protect your reputation from harm.
Even a difficult divorce doesn’t have to become a public spectacle. Exploring all of your options can make it easier to manage.