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Facebook user? Be careful sharing during divorce

A proud parent wants to show off -- your kids, loving husband, holidays and daily life. Social media sites can be a great way to share these fun times with family and friends, as well as more sad or solemn moments.

But in the unfortunate event that your marriage ends in divorce, oversharing can have consequences. 

Your data is out there

Studies have shown that social media could itself be causing marriage splits. Researchers showed using social network sites was correlated with measures of unhappiness in marriage and thinking of divorce. As things like Facebook, Twitter and dating sites have spread in popularity during the past decade, their promotion of pro- and anti-social behaviors have had real impacts on the family unit. These digital services undoubtedly allow people to form closer connections, yet they can also create circumstances where evidence is shared widely.

Issues around law

If a breakup becomes a divorce, lawyers could use social media posts as evidence. In fact, two-thirds of lawyers surveyed by a group representing matrimony lawyers say Facebook is now the main source for evidence used in court. This could include adverse material that contradicts what you have said in previous statements. Perhaps it's a photo somebody tagged you in, a geo-tag for a location you visited or a relationship status change.

Tips for posting online

You can still maintain your online presence, but it might pay to take heed of these tips:

  • Stop altogether or take extra care what you post
  • You most often do not own your data, the social media site does
  • Even if deleted, experts in digital retrieval can likely bring the evidence back to light
  • Maybe nothing you posted is incriminating, but you can't control other people's pages

Outside divorce, it also could be that sites like Facebook dampen the mood of all users, according to some researchers. Perhaps think about putting time into doing more meaningful activities that could have a more predictable, positive effect on your temperament.

Vigilance can pay off

It is possible to be a good citizen, online and off, and not negatively affect your divorce. Whether you spend less time online or are more cautious about which memories you are preserving, remember that it's all on the public record, which could come back in future.

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