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Divorce and social media: Tips to keep them separate

Social media has entered into the everyday world of nearly every person in Texas. Unfortunately, what can be an extraordinary convenience in day-to-day life can become a serious source of trouble and distress during a potentially contentious process like a divorce. Anything that is posted or said on a social media site can be discovered and misinterpreted easily, so it is important to avoid social media use that inflames the proceedings or paints yourself in a bad light, says an authority on the subject.

During a difficult divorce, the best online policy is usually to say nothing. Do not mention the proceedings, your estranged spouse or anything else that could be used against you in a court of law. The divorce authority also recommends being especially sure not to discuss private communications between yourself and your attorneys. A simple statement that begins with the phrase "my attorney said" could be construed as a waiver of attorney-client privilege.

Privacy settings are often not enough, in the interconnected world of social media, to keep postings from getting back to the spouse, the other attorneys or even the judge. Even relatively small things can cause trouble during a difficult divorce. For example, a picture of you sipping a glass of champagne to toast a friend's wedding could be used by an unscrupulous legal team to imply that you have a drinking problem.

From the legal point of view, social media can be troublesome; this is why so many attorneys advise their clients to avoid Internet interaction entirely, but other attorneys counter tat this is fairly unrealistic in this day and age. Simply remember to treat everything that you put on the Internet as public, they say, whether you intend it to be or not, and moderate your social media presence accordingly. A family law attorney may be able to provide you with additional advice about how to express yourself without endangering your divorce proceedings.

Source: WTOP, "Navigating social media during a divorce", Neal Augenstein, September 09, 2013

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