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The illusion of social media meeting the reality of divorce

From sage advice to dire warnings, parents of all generations have tried to guide their children in the right direction. The moment a son or daughter gets married, mom and dad usually provide their counsel, based on their past experiences.

Safe to say that most parents cannot cite their ups and downs when it comes to their use of Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. Lacking those online life experiences, they are not equipped to adequately warn their children of the effects that social media has on relationships.

Online postings and tweets can sabotage the process of resolving marital dissolutions, even for those using divorce mediation as an option. In far too many cases, the damage caused by online activity was done much earlier. Focusing on a smart phone disengages one spouse from the other. The distraction also plants seeds for irreparable marital problems.

A phone survey conducted by the Pew Research Center asked couples about the effects social media usage had on their relationships. Seventy-one percent of married couples use social media with only 10 percent admitting to it having a "major impact" on their relationships.

However, when it comes to those ages 18 to 29 who grew up in the internet age, a direct link exists between social media consumption and relationship tension.

  • Eighteen percent have had arguments over the amount of time spent online, compared with eight percent of all couples
  • Eight percent have been upset with something their partner was doing online, compared to four percent of all couples

A 2014 study negatively correlated social media use with marriage quality and happiness, regardless of economical, demographic or psychological variables. Another study that year revealed that one-third of divorce cases mentioned Facebook and concerns over inappropriate messages sent online to others - which has become a relatively common source of conflict during the divorce process.

Regardless of why you are divorcing, healing the wounds is an important part of moving on. Although memories of excessive time on your smart phone and related indiscretions may remain, working out the issues with the help of an attorney mediator can help you going forward and possibly prevent repeating mistakes of the past.

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