If you and your to-be opt to get a prenup before waltzing down the aisle, there will be a list of topics the lawyers will go over with you during that process: kids, income, businesses, alimony, property—all of which, if you have opted to get a prenup, will be expected. Deliberately going over those topics in an official and legal capacity is kinda why you’re getting one, after all—but these days, you might be surprised by something else your representatives could ask about: social media.
Yes, dear engaged readers, laying out defined sanctions—and perhaps more importantly, defined penalties—for uploading and publicly posting pictures and information that would be detrimental to your current partner after you have become consciously uncoupled is fast becoming an official and legal no-no in breakups. And though it may sound like something for celebrities, social media is, truly, so prevalent in our lives that you can see how it’s not, if you really think about it: on the extreme end, revenge porn is a very real thing for the people who have experienced it. And on the other, there are plenty of people out there who could get fired if that snap of them doing tequila shots in Cabo while wearing an ill-advised bikini were to make their way onto their Timeline: maybe they had called out sick in order to swing that long weekend, or maybe such behavior violates some sort of HR policy where they work. We all know the horror of a friend checking you in at the bar when you told another you were staying in and scrambling to undo it, and that’s just your buddy making an innocent mistake. The potential for what can happen in today’s world concerning reputation devastation after you’ve told your person you no longer wish to spend your lifetime with them can be quite another thing entirely.
Aaron Weems, a family law attorney with Fox Rothschild LLP, says that the main point of laying out these sanctions and penalties is preventative: Basically, if there is an actual legal document you can point to and say, You’re not allowed to post that, and if you do, here’s what you have to pay, will greatly reduce the chances of a scorned ex going through with a vindictive post. “It’s all about the financial repercussions,” he says. “You hit them in their wallet.”
The majority of stipulations cover what kind of pictures it’s okay to post, but really, “Anytime or any way that information can be disseminated, you can protect yourself against it,” he says. And while according to Weems, Philly couples haven’t started signing up for this the way they are in, say, California or even New York, it is becoming common enough practice that he now routinely brings it up along with all of the other aforementioned prenup topics. “Even if they don’t add it to their agreement, they find that the conversation, at least, is worthwhile.”
And if this all sounds a little extreme to you, don’t worry—there’s always a postnup if you change your mind. Because according to Weems, the discussion of social media in the legal forum—including that of marriage—is here to stay: “This will probably go away when Facebook goes away.”
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