Social media is becoming a big part of our love lives, but it can be tricky to navigate in a relationship. For instance, if your boyfriend posts a compromising picture of you on Facebook that could affect your promotion at work, or he vents about your fight from the night before and discloses personal details that could impact your career, do you have a right to take legal action? According to NY Attorney Ann-Margaret Carrozza, you do. She has recently seen an influx of clients requesting social media clauses in their prenuptial and postnuptial agreements.
Almost a third of her clients have been interested in having the social media prenup clause added to their contracts. A typical social media clause will state that couples can’t post nude photos, embarrassing photos or photos or posts that are likely to harm a spouse’s professional reputation. It doesn't matter whether it's posted on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram - the same rules apply.
The Social Media Prenup clause includes the amount of time your partner can spend online and on social media, who they can follow, connect with and when, and how much of your personal lives your partner can share. I had a chance to ask Carrozza about this phenomenon, and what she sees happening in the future.
What are some specific ways in which people use social media against each other in divorce?
I have seen people use social media against each other by posting negative images and/or content, tweeting hateful messages and posting confidential matters.
What exactly is a social media prenup and how can people get one?
I now, routinely add a "social media clause" to a prenup after discussing the issue with my clients. I began offering this after seeing a certain former Congressman's career implode because of an indelible social media image. Your attorney can work with you to add this type of clause to your prenup, postnup, or cohab.
Is the social media prenup really going to work, considering how often we place our lives out in the public sphere? Or do you think it will make people less inclined to use social media?
Twenty-seven states have either enacted or are considering "Revenge Porn" legislation. This means it is a crime to post, tweet, or otherwise share sexually explicit images of an ex. The social media clause within a Prenup would add a civil cause of action against a violator. I believe that the use of social media will continue to grow. At the same time, the stakes are higher in terms of negative content harming one's professional life. I have also created contracts for unmarried couples known as "Love Contracts." A Love Contract is similar to a prenup but often contains "lifestyle" clauses such as how often you cook your partner dinner, how often you have sex, etc. For these couples, a "social media clause" can be a valuable addition to the Love Contract.
Remember, we can't always prevent a break-up, but with a social media clause, we can prevent being publicly humiliated and professionally devastated!
What is one of the craziest lawsuits you've seen regarding social media?
I just recently began offering the social media prenup in the past few months and therefore have not come upon any crazy lawsuits - yet!