Danica Patrick announced her divorce on Tuesday by sending a message to her Facebook followers.
The 30-year-old NASCAR driver is ending her seven-year marriage to physical therapist Paul Hospenthal, 47. She said the split is amicable and the two will remain friends, but her method for delivering the message was a little unorthodox.
In less than 24 hours, Patrick's Facebook post got more than 7,000 "likes" on the social network. We're not sure what that says about Patrick's fans or her marriage.
Patrick and Hospenthal met when he treated her for a non-racing injury, reports People magazine. Their relationship has been mostly private, and it seems to be ending the same way.
The divorce was announced publicly, but the way Patrick said it was respectful and appropriate.
While it's a good public statement, it's generally not a good idea to blab about your divorce on Facebook or anywhere else on the Internet.
Even if you aren't a celebrity, the comments you make online are public and can be seen by anyone. Your privacy settings may make your posts available to friends only, but if a "friend" passes the post along to your ex, it could be a serious problem.
In divorce proceedings, a judge will generally look at how the spouses have acted towards each other since they decided to split. Inappropriate behavior can count against you, including Facebook posts.
It's one thing to make nasty comments in private to your friends. But making them online means they can more easily be used against you later.
Respectful behavior is even more important if child custody is an issue, although that's not the case here. Patrick and Hospenthal don't have children, reports ESPN.
If you want primary or shared custody of your children, you have to show the judge you're a good parent and role model. Publicly insulting your ex isn't going to do that.
Being disrespectful will hurt your case, but there are lots of things you can do to improve your outcome in a divorce. Consider talking to your lawyer about how you can make process go smoother.
Patrick became famous as an IndyCar racer and was the first woman to win the Indy Japan 300. She made her NASCAR debut in February.
- Danica Patrick announces divorce on Facebook (Los Angeles Times)
- Facebook Divorce (FindLaw)
- Ripping Your Ex on Facebook Can Cost You in Divorce (FindLaw's Law and Daily Life)
- NASCAR Driver Danica Patrick Divorces Husband of 7 Years (FindLaw's Atlanta Family Law News Blog)