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How social media can be used against one in divorce

For many people, social media is a blessing that allows them to have greater contact with friends and family who live too far away to meet with regularly. During divorce, however, it may become a weapon to be used against an unwary spouse. How might this affect California residents, and how should one protect oneself?

Many people are unaware of how much information they might be giving away, in seemingly trivial posts. Sharing the excitement of a new purchase might elicit a happy response from one's friends; however, that expense may be seized upon by others as proof that one is not in as much need of financial support as one has stated to an estranged spouse. An outpouring of one's feelings toward that spouse may be construed as an attempt to malign the character of a parent during a custody dispute. Mention of a new partner may likewise be seen as something to be used to limit visitation or effect custody.

This may sound far-fetched, but if there is acrimony between the parties to the divorce then there is a chance that one side will not fail to use whatever he or she can find, in order to reduce the standing of the other party. The Internet is so full of information that it is impossible to keep a lid on everything, but exercising caution can help toward limiting damage. Social media platforms are by far the easiest over which to maintain a level of control.

California residents may not realize that platform updates may alter settings, so checking privacy settings periodically is a wise move. Using private messaging to discuss more emotional aspects of one's divorce with trusted friends, rather than posting publicly, may help to keep children and other parties out of any potential conflicts. As difficult as it is to be impassive at such a time, maintaining discretion in one's dealings will be of greater benefit in the long term.

Source: blogher.com, "10 Tips for Handling Social Media During a Divorce", Lisa Thomson, Feb. 1, 2016

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