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Social media and divorce: the good, the bad, and the ugly

For countless people living in Illinois and all throughout the country, using social media is second nature. At this point, most people rely on tools like email, text messaging and personal online forums for communication and entertainment. And while social media websites and personal messaging services fit seamlessly into most peoples’ lifestyles these days, they can pose unique challenges to individuals facing child custody and/or divorce issues. It is very important that anyone preparing for divorce proceedings understand how and why their own words posted online can be used against them in court.

Keep emotions in line

When a marriage ends, emotions may run high for both parties, prompting some to speak out against their ex via social media and other online sources. For instance, one study recently found that divorcing couples may post unkind comments on each other’s personal online pages almost 30 percent of the time. Similarly, that type of content was used as evidence in around 81 percent of divorce proceeds last year alone. Once written content is published online, it may become fair game for either side to use in their case. That’s why it’s a good idea to stop and think before ever clicking “send” or “post.” 

Be your own PR rep

Even though most social media services are designed to only share someone’s information with a designated list of followers and friends, it is possible for others to access content in some instances. Therefore, it’s wise to always be careful about how that content may be perceived by someone like a judge, maybe. If words or pictures can be misinterpreted in any way, it might be best to leave them out altogether.

By protecting their words and online presence from being scrutinized, people can help to ensure their divorce case is fair and successful. 

Source: The Washington Post, “Email, texting can become a WMD during a divorce or custody case,” Myra Fleischer, April 23, 2013

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