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Can social media damage your divorce?

There is no doubt that Americans -- and Texans -- love their social media: be it Facebook, Twitter, Klout, or GetGlue, just to name a few. For divorcing couples, social media can serve as a dangerous temptation to air out personal emotions or situations in a very public forum with no expectation of privacy. The entire point, in some ways, of social media is a lack of privacy. The consequences of sharing too much over social media are not only professional or personal, but there may be legal consequences as well.

According to a 2010 American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers survey, 81 percent of their members saw an increase in divorce cases utilizing social networking evidence over the last five years. Telling a lie about the spouse can result in a lawsuit for libel if the statement can be proven to be untrue -- however, statements that are opinion-based rather than fact-based are fair game.

Online ranting can be construed as harassment as it can have personal and professional consequences for the targeted spouse. A partner in a matrimonial and divorce firm gave an example of a case where a spouse labeled her husband as a liar, cheat and a thief in a blog post -- which was seen by her husband's boss. Though it may have been cathartic for the soon-to-be-ex-wife, it had serious negative results for the other spouse professionally, and in turn, affected her and her children financially.

In addition, some judges don't appreciate taking into account the online lives of the couples in their courtroom, especially when making decisions in regards to the best interest of the children, such as custody, child support and alimony.

When it comes to social media, the old saying "If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all" may pay off more than it did on the playground.

Source: The Province, "How social media can sabotage your divorce," Geoff Williams, Aug. 27, 2012

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