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Don't let social media ruin the outcome of your divorce

Getting divorced can be a frustrating and isolating process. You may feel like no one is on your side, and that the odds are stacked against you. However, there are certain things you can do (or avoid doing) to improve your chances of a positive outcome in a divorce. Changing your attitude about social media is one of the most important.

Social media is an amazing tool. It allows you to connect instantly with people and share any personal thought you want to validate. You need to be very careful about how you use it during your divorce. Failing to do so could impact the asset division process or even decisions about child custody.

Social media isn't the place to vent

Just like how deprecating your spouse to your kids can hurt your chances at custody, talking trash about your spouse, broadcasting your new relationship or venting on social media could impact the outcome of your divorce. Obviously, sharing pictures and tagging your new romantic partner may help you feel better about moving on, but doing so could result in a less favorable outcome to your divorce. The courts generally frown on affairs, and that includes dating before they finalize your divorce.

Venting or otherwise sharing your frustrations about divorce can also come back to haunt you. Statements that you make out of anger may appear threatening. Comments about your spouse's personality, integrity or behavior may seem like defamation. While more people every year come to depend on social media as means of connecting with loved ones and community, it simply isn't the place for discussing the details of your divorce.

Nothing is really private on social media

The first and most important thing to understand about social media is that nothing you share on it is actually private. Whether you're using SnapChat, where posts disappear after bit or Facebook, where you can control who can or can't see each post, once you share a thought, it's out there. It takes less than a second for someone to take a screenshot of a post. Once that happens, the person who took the screenshot can share it with your spouse. It could even become evidence against you in court.

Just because you're keeping your spouse from seeing your posts directly on your social media pages doesn't mean your posts won't make it back to him or her. Chances are that you share friends, especially online. Even if you implicitly trust your circle of friends, someone you believe is on your side may feel compelled to share your posts if it seems threatening toward your ex or implies that you cheated.

Even if you send information via a private message, that message could end up in the wrong hands. You never know if one of your friends or even a family member will choose to send information from or about you to your spouse during the divorce. If you need to vent, your best options include talking to a therapist (who can't divulge what you say unless it's a credible threat of violence) or an in-person discussion with someone you trust.

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Robert Schembs
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