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Divorce and social media: Should you really post that?

Social media has become an entrenched part of our day-to-day routines. Wake up, send a birthday greeting on Facebook, scroll through Instagram, have breakfast and save a new recipe on Pinterest. It's only natural that couples would be tempted to discuss their divorce on social media, but should they?

Leading up to and throughout the divorce process, couples must take special consideration of what content they post and engage with online. Failing to do so could negatively impact your divorce settlement, and even your personal relationships.

Parents risk the greatest loss

Social media posts can impact your child custody and support arrangements. The court can evaluate your posts and use them as evidence in your case. They may be used to help determine whether you should (or shouldn't) be trusted with custody of your child.

Do not talk badly about your soon-to-be-ex-spouse, post pictures of dates with other people or pictures of activities that could negatively reflect on your character. You want to show that you are responsible, stable, loving and can maintain a respectful relationship with your ex for your children's benefit.

Protect your long-term financial stability

Did you recently take an expensive trip? Did you buy a new car? Posting about large purchases can jeopardize your property division settlement. You may be accused of inappropriately spending marital funds or underreporting your assets.

Depending on the nature of your photos and comments, you may miss out on necessary spousal support payments, or be subject to an investigation if the other party thinks you may be concealing assets. On the flip side, if your spouse's posts show frivolous spending, report it to your lawyer.

Avoid anything that could be considered harassment

It's understandable for you and your ex-spouse to not get along. But do not bring hostility to the internet. Avoid posting insulting or slanderous comments about your ex, or inappropriate photos of them. In some cases, harassing posts may be deemed concerning enough to warrant a criminal investigation.

General guidelines: Keep this in mind

During this difficult time, it may be best to avoid posting on social media altogether. Additionally, you may benefit from unfollowing your ex and hiding their posts from your feed. Seeing their posts can be emotionally draining and may tempt you to lash out on social media.

Instead, take a second to carefully consider every photo and comment you make. Remember that you want to present your character in the best light before your children, friends, family and the court. If you need to rant about your ex-spouse, find an appropriate outlet, like speaking with a counselor or close friend.

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Rising Star Susan M. Suriano WBA OHIO Women's Bar Association Woman Lawyer of Franklin County Young Leaders of Licking County

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