Recently we have discussed the role of social media in marriage and divorce. Significant time spent on social media by married people, as we noted, has been shown to correlate to divorce rates. Further, during divorce, social media can cause trouble if one partner posts items that can be used against him or her. Social media has become such an integral part of most of our lives that couples are increasingly including social media clauses in prenuptial agreements.
Like other lifestyle provisions in prenups, social media clauses address behavior. They set boundaries for what one partner can and cannot post involving the other. Perhaps most importantly, say some experts, they instigate a discussion between couples of what each considers private.
Depending on how the prenup is written, the monetary penalties for breaking it can be substantial. That's because, as one attorney notes, the damages can be not only psychological but economic if an embarrassing photo or post harms a person's career. Once something is on the Internet it's difficult, if not impossible, to remove. The attorney says, "It's really no joke, and I expect this clause to become much more important with any of the other contracts."
Generally, social media clauses stipulate no nude or embarrassing photos or any posts or photos that could harm a person's reputation professionally. These stipulations can also be important if the marriage ends. Some spouses have been known to post "revenge porn" to get back at their exes. Social media clauses can help control that as well.
So what if your spouse thinks you look particularly fetching in your new bikini and posts a photo to Instagram, but you are mortified that this is now out there for the world to see? That's where the importance of the privacy conversation comes in, whether the couple decides to codify it or not. It's essential to determine boundaries of what areas of your lives as a couple to share publicly and which ones to keep private.
One relationship and family therapist believes that all couples today, married or not, need to discuss social media boundaries. She says, "It's really about avoiding…a sense of betrayal."
Texas family law attorneys can work with couples to include social media clauses in their prenups as well as in postnuptial agreements after they have had their own conversation about what they consider private in their relationship.
Source: ABC News, "I Love You, You're Perfect, but Watch What You Facebook: Social Media Prenups" Lauren Effron, Jun. 03, 2014