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Tread carefully online during divorce

People tend to think that their private lives are exactly that – private. With the advent of social media, however, far more information makes it out into the virtual world than one may realize. It may surprise people how much of this material has the potential to be used during divorce proceedings. While a California divorce may be carried out on a no-fault basis, there are many circumstances that may affect the outcome of financial and child custody issues.

During emotional periods, people make unguarded comments in the heat of the moment. While it is natural to vent one's frustration or anger with friends and family, doing so online – or to an inappropriate audience – may do more harm than good. Comments that paint the other parent in a bad light may be taken as libellous and may be used instead to illustrate that the writer is attempting to drive a wedge between the other person and his or her children.

Moving on after separation should also be handled carefully. There is nothing inherently wrong in doing so; however, if it appears that one is being supported financially by a new partner, then this may affect the terms of spousal support. If one describes living a more lavish lifestyle than one claims to be able to afford, then this can raise doubts about whether the person is being entirely honest in the community property assessment about the assets that he or she owns.

There are many ways in which it is possible to gain information about a California resident's lifestyle, but not all of them are necessarily advisable. Some may not be legally admissible in court or even legal in the method of obtaining them. Randomly deleting information to prevent its use in divorce proceedings can also appear suspicious. Seeking advice appropriate to one's own situation may help one to limit any potential damage, while exercising restraint and thinking carefully before posting on social media is advisable in any circumstances.

Source: Forbes, "How Is Electronic Data Handled In Divorce?", Jeff Landers, Dec. 22, 2016

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