From chatting on Twitter to sharing photos on Instagram, for many Americans social media platforms are an important part of daily life—an easy way to share life stories with friends, family and followers near and far. According to the Pew Research Center, seven out of 10 adults in the U.S. have Facebook accounts, and most of those who use the site visit it at least once a day.
Unfortunately, all that online activity can leave behind a trail of evidence. If you are considering separation, you should know that your spouse’s attorney may be able to use social media posts against you during a divorce. That evidence could negatively impact property division decisions, custody arrangements or alimony settlements.
- Avoid the temptation to vent online
Whether seeking emotional support or just looking to release pent-up frustration, during a divorce you may find it difficult to resist going online to share your angst. Unfortunately, posts you make may easily reach a wider audience than you realize—especially if you and your spouse share a wide social network online. A mutual friend or follower may pass on information that could be damaging in court.
- Do not rely on privacy settings
While it is important to check privacy settings frequently on all social media apps you use, you should not assume that those settings will work flawlessly. In 2018, a Facebook bug that affected up to 14 million users changed the default setting for posts from private to public. You should also keep in mind that once you post something online, you may not be able to stop others from sharing it and making it public.
- Be mindful about what you post
You should always assume that anything you post could come back to haunt you. Even something that seems innocent, like checking in to a bar or restaurant or talking about a big-ticket purchase, could undermine your testimony during divorce proceedings or paint a negative picture of your behavior.