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Adjust your social media use to protect yourself in a divorce

These days, people use social media as a primary means of communicating with friends, family and the world in general. However, you need to carefully consider how you're using social media when going through a divorce. Making the wrong decision or posting the wrong thing to Facebook or Twitter could end up impacting your divorce, from asset division to child custody.

You can turn to social media to gather evidence of your spouse's behavior, but remember that he or she can do the same thing. Take a moment to clean up older posts that may be questionable by deleting them or turning them private, so only you can view them. Also, be very careful about what you share. Anything you put online can, and very well may, end up used against you in family court.

Don't bad-mouth your ex or make exaggerated claims online

You want to vent. After all, you may feel angry, betrayed or hurt when you're facing divorce. It's only natural to want to share those feelings and have others validate your perspective. Save that for in-person encounters with people you trust implicitly. Anything you share online could end up becoming fuel for a contentious battle in court.

You can tell people you're divorcing, but spare them the lurid details. Even if you left your spouse due to abuse or an affair, sharing that information online could hurt your case. It could look like defamation of character or an attempt to damage your spouse's social connections.

Avoid bragging about new love or good fortune

If you've started dating someone before you finalize your divorce, you need to keep that information private. Don't change your relationship status on Facebook. Don't post cute pictures with heart filters on SnapChat or Instagram and resist the urge to tweet about your new-found love. You never want to offer any alleged evidence of infidelity that could come back to haunt you.

Similarly, avoid bragging about any particular good fortune at work or during a weekend trip to a casino. While you may have already filed for divorce and reported your assets, sharing a major windfall online could provide incentive for your ex to accuse you of hiding assets. That allegation could cause major issues for you in the asset division process.

Don't assume you can trust people in your network

Just because you're connected online doesn't mean that those people are really in your corner. Many of them may have a relationship with your spouse as well. That could mean that your privacy settings won't do as much to protect you as you might hope. Also, it means that private messages can easily end up captured with a screenshot and be shared.

Don't type anything you wouldn't want your spouse or the family court judge to see, no matter who you're talking to or how you've set you privacy preferences. It's always best to err on the side of caution.

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