Social media prenups aim to put the brakes on hurtful posts

These are the wedding rings used by Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston. The couple married in 2000 but later divorced. (AP Photo/HO)

WASHINGTON – More couples are sitting down with their lawyers before tying the knot to hash out what they can post on social media about one another as part of their prenuptial agreement.

“A social media prenup is an agreement in writing between a couple about what’s cool and not cool to share with the world on the internet,” says marriage and family therapist Dr. Sheri Meyers.

She explains that the ever-changing world of technology is new territory for marriage counseling and is testing legal boundaries.

Prenuptial arrangements usually cover how property and income would be divided up if a marriage sours. But now media-savvy partners are including restrictions, and penalties, about posting tweets, photos or videos that may be less than flattering to their partner.

Social media prenups are a growing trend and lawyers are seeing a rise in its requests. New York-based attorney Ann-Margaret Carrozza told the NY Daily News the agreements are about “setting some boundaries so someone is not humiliated.”

Maryland Lawyer Paul O’Reilly thinks it’s more of a defamation issue.

“It’s really just an extension of what attorneys have been putting in prenups for years – a right to privacy clause,” O’Reilly says.

But spelling out any violations may be the hard part.

“Write it down,” Meyers says. “I promise never to post an ugly picture of you on the internet or I will ask you first.”

That, she admits is kind of glib. But she cautions what about that unflattering and revealing bikini picture or that comment on Twitter about your in-laws.

Employers, college admissions boards, security clearance checks or even family and friends would be able to view material that could be hurtful, harmful and have lasting effects.

Rockville family law attorney Brian Barke says social media prenups are legal.

“As long as both parties with advice of counsel sign the documents, it is a binding legal contract.”

A contract, though, that may have many interpretations.

“Social media is here to stay,” says Meyers “And it’s only going to get worse.”

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