When your divorce becomes social media fodder because you yourself are posting things online about it, what are the risks? Lifestyle and mommy blogger Eva Amurri Martino – who has posted to her followers that she and her husband are going to “lovingly part ways as a couple” (aka divorce) – may find out the hard way.
Eva, the daughter of Susan Sarandon, and her husband who is a former soccer player, announced their split with simultaneous posts on both their Instagram and Twitter accounts. In the photo, they are beautiful and laughing on their porch with their two adorable young children, despite the somber message.
Eva is 23-weeks pregnant with the couple’s third child, making the beautiful laughing picture and self-described “lovingly parting ways” description seem like a total farce.
The couple also has been remodeling a home and both posted declarations of love on their anniversary less than a month ago. Her followers immediately began speculating what happened on various internet forums, and they have become tabloid fodder.
Florida Divorce and Social Media
Eva Amurri Martino’s decision to “lovingly part ways” and broadcast her divorce to the world is part of the recent phenomenon of the “divorce selfie” and other social media announcements.
I’ve written about the widespread use of social media in society, and how that impacts family court cases. Social media evidence is increasingly becoming important at trial – especially when it comes to authenticating exhibits in family court.
Some exhibits are so trustworthy they don’t even require a witness to authenticate. Evidence Rule 201 lists matters which a court must judicially notice, meaning a judge does not have discretion but to admit indisputable evidence.The list is short, and includes laws of the Congress and Florida Legislature; Florida statewide rules of court, rules of United States courts, and U.S. Supreme Court rules.
Rule 202 includes even more matters, but also provides judges leeway in deciding whether or not to take judicial notice. For example, the statute allows a court to take judicial notice of facts that are not subject to dispute because they are “generally known within the territorial jurisdiction of the court”, and facts that are not subject to dispute because they are “capable of accurate and ready determination by resort to sources whose accuracy cannot be questioned.”
With evidence of foreign governments using social media to spread disinformation and propaganda, and the widespread use of fake social media accounts, you have to wonder whether the genuineness assumption of evidence in family court still stands.
Create a Post
Eva and Kyle’s divorce raises an interesting question: when your brand is your life, how do you post divorce information? Influencers usually handle this in three ways: They ignore it and “keep it off the feed,” they offer an unfiltered look at their hardship, or they go dark until the storm passes.
Eva has kept up her usual posts and aesthetic, but mixed in the realities of her new situation. Her activity over the past week features her usual glam, well-lit Instagrams, but with divorce talk sprinkled in. For example, she hosted a “slumber party” for her girlfriends, complete with makeup, pearls, and matching silk pajamas. She also has been posting family shots, now missing a member.
For his part, Kyle posted this absolutely heartbreaking post the other day. Something about how peppy and lovely it looks kind of kills me?
If you’re considering divorce — even if you plan to file for divorce online and expect it to go amicably — take some precautions. Lockdown privacy settings for example, and be cognizant that your posts could be used against you.
Even if things are moving forward in an amicable fashion, you don’t want to turn your divorce into a contested legal battle. That may include keeping your divorce off Facebook and Twitter. If you have children, consider an agreement that child-related social media posts are limited especially photos and posts that give insight into children’s personal lives.
Influencers like Eva, who have used their children to create a family brand, may have little choice but to make glowing comments such as “lovingly parting ways” while 6-months pregnant and in the middle of a remodeling project.
The Buzzfeed article is here.