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What to know about Facebook when facing divorce

Social media finds new ways to impact our lives every day. While platforms like Facebook help us stay in touch with our loved ones, it can also hurt when a family is in a crisis such as divorce. Men and women who are going through a divorce should be aware of negative personal behavior on social media that could adversely affect a case.

In an age of likes, reactions and comments, it's best to keep divorce out of the spotlight on social media. Here are four tips to protecting yourself online during divorce:

1. Review Facebook privacy settings

Although the personal information available via Facebook is daunting, the platform does allow users significant control over their privacy settings. To avoid drawing unnecessary attention, users can choose who can view their profile, pictures and posts. Additionally, Facebook also allows users to select who can message them or add them as a friend.

2. Avoid messaging exes about online

Personal messages are usually protected by law, but once spouses decide they want a divorce, communication between the two parties can be discoverable in court. Estranged spouses should be careful not to write hurtful messages or make promises they aren't prepared to meet to one another.

3. Watch out for lifestyle posts

Many people use social media to portray a lifestyle or branded products. New clothes or expensive vacations can be fun to show off, but they can also be a sign that a spouse could be hiding assets or spending money to avoid losing it in divorce. Conspicuous consumption is best kept off social media while finances are of concern during divorce.

4. Check out with check-ins

Online reviews are popular with young people on social media, and many businesses encourage check-ins, pictures and ratings. However, a seemingly casual check-in at a bar could be used to paint a person in a negative light, especially when child custody is disputed.

Think of social media as a person's digital footprint of their lifestyle. Divorce will likely require an adjustment in lifestyle, and habits on social media should change to reflect that. Given the emotional and financial implications of divorce, there's no question that the process can be messy, but it is best to keep social media accounts clean.

Like many journeys in life, the start is just as important as the finish. Understanding how social media affects divorce can help each couple control their side of the story.

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