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Divorce in the digital age: How to cope

When you wake up in the morning and check your phone, sometimes you wish you hadn’t. Your ex is telling you that the kids “don’t seem happy” whenever he sees them. Your best friend posts pictures from your last girls’ night out all over Facebook, tagging you with captions like “Free at last!” You suspect that the latter inspired the former.

This is divorce in the digital age.

On the one hand, there’s a certain comfort in being able to reach out to friends and family at any time and laugh or cry together over Facebook Messenger or Google Hangouts. However, these mediums can also make it difficult to preserve a fragile co-parenting relationship or move on once the divorce is finalized.

Here are some tips for keeping your online and offline lives from interacting in a way that prevents you from moving forward.

  1. Think before you send

When you’re already tired and stressed, a sarcastic email from your ex about an upcoming child support payment can trigger a day-long communication war that prevents you from concentrating on your work and other daily responsibilities.

This is where digital communication is a good thing, though. Unlike a face-to-face conversation, you can take a deep breath, walk away for a while, and then come back to answer after you’ve calmed down. Limit your reply to necessary information and discontinue conversations that are disrespectful and unproductive.

  1. Sanitize your social media accounts

This step is especially critical if you’re involved in a high-conflict divorce. It’s unfair, but anything that’s posted can potentially be used against you. That photo of you and your friends at a bistro table loaded with shot glasses? Even though you only had one glass of wine, it looks bad. How about wall messages about “that cute guy” who asked you for your number?

Until the divorce is over, keep your personal life out of the spotlight. Ask your friends to support you by refraining from posting such pictures, especially if they have friends in common with your ex. Confine your own social media posts to innocuous subjects and comments.

  1. Stay off your ex’s social media profiles

Even if you are relieved that an unhappy marriage is over, you may still be curious about what your ex’s life is now like. It starts by visiting his social media profiles. Then one day you notice that he has a new “friend.” Soon you are checking the accounts of mutual friends to see if they have friended her.

Digging for information in this way can become addicting and keep you stuck in the past when you deserve better. Each time you get the urge to pry, get up from the computer or put the tablet away and focus on yourself. Go for a walk, call a friend for coffee, or get caught up on errands. Over time, the impulse to revisit the past will subside, and you will be ready to embrace the future.

If you are considering divorce or have received divorce papers from your spouse, then be sure to consult with an experienced attorney. Jayson Lutzky offers free in-person initial consultations and has helped thousands of highly satisfied clients file for divorce. To set up an appointment, call 718-329-9500 or visit www.MyNewYorkCityLawyer.com for more information.

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