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A New Trend: The Social Media Prenup

Prenup8

Imagine this: after a particularly nasty divorce, one ex-spouse posts unflattering photos of the other on social media platforms. Or worse: the posts contain revenge pornography or other attacks on one party by the other. Cue shaming, humiliation, and even defamation. Aside from personal discomfort, such activity can even damage one’s professional reputation. Is there a way to prevent this type of behavior before it can rear its ugly head?  Some are turning to prenuptial agreements as a method of prevention. (It should be noted that revenge pornography is a crime and punishable under OCGA 16-11-90, and could result in prison time of a minimum of one year, up to five years, and/or a fine of up to $100,000).

What Is a Social Media Prenup?

A social media clause in a prenuptial agreement may be new, but prenuptial agreements aren’t.  They have been around for decades as methods of protecting parties’ assets, simplifying divorce, clarifying partners’ rights and responsibilities in and outside of the marriage, and making allowances for children of past marriages.  Now, in prenuptial agreements, parties are making agreements about what kind of posting to social media will be permissible in the event of divorce and even within the marriage.

What Sorts of Penalties Are Contemplated in Social Media Prenups?

For the most part, social media clauses in prenuptial agreements use fines as motivation to avoid the offending posting and behavior.  These fines can be small or range upwards of $50,000 depending on the wealth of the individuals involved, the interests of the parties, and special considerations like whether one party has a business interest or professional standing that has been harmed by the disallowed social media activity.

Why Consider a Social Media Clause?

Once it’s out there, it’s there for good.  Everyone knows that once something is on the internet, it is difficult if not impossible to remove.  Deleting a photo doesn’t always reverse the damage done by careless posting.  Sometimes, even efforts to remove the offending materials just result in even more people viewing the material, an unfortunate backfire known in some corners of the internet as the Streisand Effect.  A social media clause in a prenuptial agreement can confirm the responsibilities of the parties and ensure that photos, statements, and the like don’t end up on the internet for all to see.

What Other Considerations Are There?

Social media is having an increased effect on divorce proceedings.  A tweet or Facebook update can derail the most amicable of separations, and can affect child custody, child support, and alimony provisions of separation agreements.  Social media clauses in prenuptial agreements can minimize the risk of this happening in the event of a divorce or separation, minimizing pain and potential civil liability down the line.

Are There Other Advantages to a Prenup?

Yes!  A prenuptial agreement can lay out the financial, personal, and property rights of both parties, can help plan for a potential divorce or separation, can be used to keep valuable property within the family, and can be a tool to help with the full and fair financial disclosure of both parties prior to the marriage.  A social media clause is simply a new way to protect parties’ interests in marriage and in divorce or separation, a new weapon in family law’s arsenal to protect families and their children.

What Do I Do Next?

If protecting your rights and interests through a prenuptial agreement sounds like a good idea to you, you are not alone; thousands of prenuptial agreements are signed and executed every year.  Consider contacting a family law attorney to help you through the process of drafting and agreeing to a prenuptial agreement. An Atlanta prenuptial agreements attorney can assist you in deciding which clauses and provisions are right for you and your family. Contact The Solomon Firm today at 404-565-0641.

Resource:

economist.com/the-economist-explains/2013/04/15/what-is-the-streisand-effect

time.com/2826759/people-are-getting-social-media-prenups/

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