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Social media helps people stay in touch with their friends, share experiences and photographs and exchange personal information online. For most people it has become a way of life. For those going through a divorce it can be an emotional and legal mine field.
On an emotional level it can be painful to see what’s going on in your ex’s new life through Facebook or Twitter posts. Even if you “defriend” or “unfollow” your ex, if you have mutual connections you may still get updates and status changes such as new relationship. Not only may it be painful to see, but it could cause a breakdown in settlement negotiations.
On a legal level you could hurt your case with a single post. According to a recent survey of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers “An overwhelming 81% of the nation’s top divorce attorneys say they have seen an increase in the number of cases using social networking evidence during the past five years.” Additionally they state that “Facebook holds the distinction of being the unrivaled leader for online divorce evidence with 66% citing it as the primary source.”
Here are a few simple guidelines to follow if you use social sites during your divorce:
- It can be very tempting in the heat of the moment to post pictures or information that should remain private or tweet derogatory comments without thinking through the repercussions. Those pictures that you think are funny might not be viewed that way by a judge. Worse yet, if you have children on social media sites they may be exposed to things that they should never see.
- Don’t brag about that great vacation or beautiful new car you just bought. That type of information can have an effect on the financial outcome of your divorce.
- Ask your friends not to tag you in any pictures without your permission. What may seem innocent to a person not going through a divorce can have a devastating impact for the divorcing person.
One solution is to take a break from social media during a divorce. For many that may not be the road they chose. For those who aren’t willing to give up their online presence the best advice is to think before you post.