Like most Americans, you start your day with coffee – then Facebook.
After a few clicks through baby photos and posts about sporting events, you see an unflattering picture of someone wearing a swimsuit. Then you realize it’s a picture of you! The caption says something about bloated whales. Your ex-wife apparently got a little creative with Photoshop.
Annoying, right? Now there might be something you can do about it from a legal perspective.
Couples have begun to add social media clauses to their prenuptial agreements, says financial adviser Kathleen Grace, author of the book "Prince Not So Charming," which includes language about posting unflattering or embarrassing information on websites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Tumblr.
“The reality of life is that 50 percent of marriages end in divorce,” says Grace, of Boca Raton, Fla. “A prenuptial is a good idea because it means both parties are walking into the marriage with their eyes wide open. The social media clause is really an extension of the non-disparagement clause.”
Grace says the secret to making a social networking clause work is to be as specific as possible – name the websites; mention photos and videos posted without your consent; say exactly what you feel would be offensive.
The more specific the better, says another expert.
“You could say there will be no nudity exposed online and no pictures of either spouse can be posted online without the spouse's consent,” says Robbin Itkin, an attorney with the Washington, D.C., law firm Steptoe & Johnson. “Such provisions can go so far as providing that a spouse will not tweet, text or otherwise communicate with a new ‘friend’ met online without the spouse's consent.”
But there are still gray areas, Los Angeles attorney Michelle Lee Flores told FoxNews.com. If a man posts a photo of his ex-wife wearing a bikini, but it’s with the kids at the beach last summer, that might not be a clear violation – it’s fairly harmless. Or, she says, you might mention your spouse in passing when talking about a child’s birthday.
“Generally, the spirit of these types of agreements are to refrain from making defamatory or derogatory statements, calling into question one’s reputation, making public sensitive private information or making statements that put the other person in a false light,” she says.
Grace notes that the prenuptial agreement is really just that – a piece of paper that both spouses sign. If your ex posts something embarrassing, you should be ready to prove that it cost you financially. For example, if you are an accountant and your ex claims you have no clue about money, you might lose a few clients, which would cause financial harm.
And one last thing that must be said . . . Whatever you do, don’t post your agreement online. That’s no way to spend a honeymoon.