Protect your reputation with a social media prenup

Social media clauses are becoming more popular in prenuptial agreements across the United States.

When you got engaged, how did you announce the news to your family and friends? After calling your parents, siblings and a few close friends, you likely posted a message on Facebook, informing the rest of your acquaintances of the exciting change to your relationship status.

While less pleasant to consider, what do you imagine would happen in the event the marriage does not work out? Would your significant other refrain from posting embarrassing or negative comments on social media?

Unfortunately, many people take to social media sites - such as Facebook and Twitter - when their marriage is dissolving, to air grievances and attempt to humiliate their former spouse.

In response, many people are now choosing to include social media clauses in their prenuptial agreements. Generally, these provisions prohibit spouses from posting embarrassing or inappropriate pictures or messages on social media, in the event of a divorce.

If the social media clause is violated by one party or the other, the prenuptial agreement usually provides that he or she will be required to pay a monetary penalty.

Social media and divorce

Social media sites have taken on a life of their own when it comes to family law issues. Based on information from the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, social media concerns are "the most frequent new issue" that arise during dissolutions of marriage.

Researchers have postulated that social media use is linked to reduced marital satisfaction. The study - published in Computers in Human Behavior - found that when Facebook enrollment in a state increased by 20 percent, the divorce rate also rose between 2 to 4 percent.

In addition, the researchers concluded that individuals who do not use social media sites are 11 percent happier with their marriages than those who frequently use social media.

The researchers noted, however, that it is unclear whether increased social media use leads to unhappier marriages or whether people tend to turn to social media in greater numbers for support from family and friends when their marriage is no longer successful.

While considering the end of the marriage is likely the last thing you want to do after getting engaged, taking steps to protect your interests in the event the marriage dissolves is a wise idea. Engaged couples should consider consulting with a knowledgeable family law attorney to discuss drafting a prenuptial agreement. Those who are already married can also protect their interests by seeking the advice of an attorney to draft a postnuptial agreement. If you are in such a situation, seek the counsel of a legal professional.

Keywords: social media, prenuptial agreements