How Cyberbullying Affects Divorce

What Happens in Divorce When Digital Bullying Is in Play?

In an era where technology is increasingly utilized in our everyday lives, cyberbullying has emerged as a significant concern. It poses severe psychological, emotional, and legal implications. Particularly in divorce scenarios, the presence of cyberbullying can significantly impact proceedings, especially when children are involved.

What Is Cyberbullying? | Examples

Digital bullying, also known as cyberbullying, is a form of harassment that takes place through digital platforms. Unlike traditional bullying, which typically occurs face-to-face, digital bullying can happen anywhere and at any time, thanks to the omnipresence of technology in our lives.

The key difference between traditional and digital bullying lies in the method of execution. While traditional bullying involves direct, physical, or verbal acts of aggression, digital bullying is more covert. It employs the use of emails, social media, text messages, and phone calls to intimidate, threaten, or belittle the victim.

During divorce proceedings, emotions run high, and communication can quickly turn toxic. Unfortunately, this provides fertile ground for digital bullying to take root. Let's explore some examples of when digital bullying can occur:

  • Social media harassment. A party may post defamatory or derogatory comments about their soon-to-be ex on social media platforms. They may also share private information or pictures without consent, intending to cause emotional distress.

  • Emails and text messages. These can be used to send continuous threats, insults, or degrading comments, causing the recipient to feel unsafe or emotionally distressed.

  • Phone call harassment. This involves repeatedly calling the person at inappropriate times, leaving threatening voicemails, or making silent calls to instill fear.

In some cases, cyberbullying during a divorce may also extend to include:

  • Accessing the other party’s social media (or other online) accounts to share embarrassing content, change the settings, or snoop for information

  • Encouraging friends and family members to post and comment negative information about the other party online

  • Posting revenge porn online (which is a crime in Florida)

  • Posting private information about the other party or the divorce proceedings

Why Does Digital Bullying Increase During Divorce?

The escalation of digital bullying during divorce proceedings can be attributed to several factors, including:

  • The stress and emotional turmoil inherent in divorce often lead individuals to act out of character.

  • Digital platforms provide an easy outlet for expressing anger and frustration during a time when people want to vent and/or feel heard.

  • The online digital world also provides a perceived sense of anonymity, emboldening individuals to engage in behaviors they might otherwise avoid.

How Cyberbullying Affects Divorce Proceedings

In the context of divorce, cyberbullying can dramatically influence the legal process, especially as it relates to child custody. When determining child custody and visitation rights, courts prioritize the best interest of the child.

One such factor in determining the best interest is each party’s willingness to foster a healthy relationship between their child and co-parent. If a parent is resorting to making negative comments and posts online, such behaviors can significantly impact a court's perception of that parent's willingness to cooperate and their co-parenting abilities.

It is also important to note that continued harassment can push a person to file for a protective order, which can restrict the respondent from contacting them in any way. Courts will consider marital misconduct when awarding alimony, and harassment charges or allegations and a protective order can be considered evidence of misconduct.

The specific effect that harassment has on your family law and divorce case can vary. Informing your attorney about any online posts or harassment is important. They can use it as evidence and explain how this might affect your case.

Coping with Digital Bullying During Divorce

If you find yourself a victim of digital bullying during your divorce, here are some steps you can take:

  • Document everything. Keep a record of all instances of harassment, including screenshots, emails, or text messages. Witnesses can also be called upon to testify. This evidence can be crucial if you need to present your case in court.

  • Secure your digital spaces. Change passwords, tighten your social media privacy settings, and restrict who can view your posts or personal information.

  • Seek legal counsel. A lawyer can guide you on the best course of action, which may include obtaining a restraining order or seeking to press charges.

  • Reach out for support. Consider joining a support group or leaning on friends and family. Getting divorced is already emotionally draining; if you are experiencing online attacks from your soon-to-be ex, then you can

Consult with Our Divorce Attorney

Navigating through the complexities of divorce and child custody cases can be emotionally draining and legally challenging. Dale L. Bernstein, Chartered Law Office is adept at providing comprehensive legal guidance throughout this difficult process. With a wealth of experience in handling such cases, we can work to help you protect your legal rights and options.

If you find yourself under attack through social media or other digital platforms, our attorney can help you document these instances, advise on the legal options available to you, and represent you effectively in court if necessary. Please be advised we can only provide counsel as it relates to your divorce case; should you wish to press charges, we cannot help with the criminal case.

Call (727) 312-1112 toschedule a consultation today.


Choose the Most Qualified Attorney
for Your Family Law Case.

    • Please enter your name.
    • This isn't a valid phone number.
      Please enter your phone number.
    • This isn't a valid email address.
      Please enter your email address.
    • Please make a selection.
    • Please enter a message.
Contact Attorney Bernstein Today