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Marriage, Technology, and Divorce: The Evolution of Matrimonial Disconnect

Since The Law Firm for Family Law was founded in 2005, technology has become an important part of everyone’s lives — ours included. Smartphones have become life-changing instruments that affect our professional and personal lives deeply. From answering emails from just about anywhere to staying in touch regarding the important movements of family members, our cellphones are the key to our day-to-day movements and successes. And, unfortunately, they can also be an integral factor in our personal disconnects.

How Are Smartphones Adversely Affecting Our Personal Relationships?

According to the Pew Research Center in Washington D.C., 95% of Americans own a cellphone, with 77% of those Americans owning smartphones, up from only 35% in 2011.

A single glance around a restaurant, sporting event or social function of any kind will prove exactly how smartphones are adversely affecting our personal relationships. Instead of having conversations with our friends and loved ones, including our spouse or children, Americans are hooked to their phones, scrolling through social media feeds, the daily news, unanswered emails, text messages, and sometimes playing games when we should be interacting with the people in front of us.

In marital relationships, this disconnect can grow into resentment. Jealously, confusion and feelings of inadequacy can all come from one spouse’s chronic smartphone use. And when these feelings are ignored, they can manifest into real marital trouble, including constant arguing, electronic device monitoring, and possibly an irreparable divide.

How Does Social Media Play a Part in Marital Strife?

When your spouse visits your social media page, their engagement is much like reading your text messages or emails, the viewing party is only privy to the words in front of them. They may not know about an inside joke, history, or playful nature of a conversation. So, when a wife or husband logs onto Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter and sees someone has left a seemingly innocuous comment on the other’s post, it can be taken out of context and lead to an argument about its true meaning.

These accounts can become parts of life that require obsessive maintenance and can lead to more time in front of your smartphone than your partner cares to witness. Suddenly there may be questions about why the social interaction is so important, or even queries about who is on your friends or contact lists — including why your ex-partner is hanging around your feed or who the new person is that is constantly commenting on your posts.

Finally, social media opens both spouses up to unsolicited contact from people who would otherwise have no way to contact them. Direct messages from old lovers, partners, schoolmates, and even new people they have met at parties, concerts, or social gatherings with friends, can immediately drop in on your life with a quick hello, a thank you, or outright suggestive message.

These types of contact can lead to emotional and physical affairs that jeopardize a marriage’s existence — and it is happening regularly.

Technology During Divorce Proceedings: Everything Is on the Record

Technology can be the cause of a marriage’s breakdown, and the backbone of its divorce proceeding’s ruling. Keep in mind that if you are going through a divorce, everything you type in a text message, say in a voicemail, or list on social media is on record for your spouse to use against you.

Likewise, the GPS on your device can reveal to even an amateur sleuth that you have visited establishments or locations that may be questionable to your character during divorce proceedings.

A heat of the moment rant on social media or a compromising photo on Instagram, no matter how tight your privacy settings may be, can find their way into a courtroom, and easily affect the outcome of your case.

Emails and text messages can be saved by the recipient, even when the sender erases the record on their end. Social media posts that have been removed may still exist in a quickly taken screenshot, allowing it to live on even though it no longer exists on your feed.

Technology trails can also pinpoint infidelity, cruel intentions, and impassioned behavior that will be used against the accused in court. When a marriage breaks down, it is important to understand that going forward, nothing is private.

Each conversation, movement, post, response, and contact are available for retrieval at any time. Because this is true, it is imperative that couples who are seeking a divorce curb their technology use, even if it means deactivating social media accounts until the proceedings are final.

If you have concerns regarding your relationship and how technology has played a role in your breakdown with a spouse, contact our Clearwater, Florida divorce attorney at The Law Firm for Family Law in today at (727) 619-1297 to schedule a free consultation, because knowing your rights is the first step to protecting them.

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