Facebook is a major temptation for a large percentage of the population. It's where you go to brag about your kids or the party you crashed last night or the new job you just landed. It seems harmless enough, right?
Wrong. In most cases, the posts you put up on Facebook for the world to see -- and make no mistake, the world can see them -- won't come back to haunt you. But if you're actively involved in a legal dispute such as a divorce, it's time to temper your tantalizing activities, or at the very least -- keep quiet about them.
Your Facebook Posts Could Cost you the Custody of Your Children
If your Facebook or other social media accounts depict you in various states of undress, indulging in too many alcoholic beverages, partaking of illegal substances, verbally abusing your children, or other such gems, you could be playing right into the hands of your estranged spouse's divorce lawyer.
Attorneys love easy online marks, and if you fall into this category, you've just made his job that much easier. And if you attempt to portray yourself as a devoted parent and good role model, and your social media account says differently, you've just lied to the judge.
Every parent is entitled to let loose and have fun on occasion, but when you're involved in a divorce hearing, be especially vigilant about how your online posts could be misconstrued.
Your Facebook Posts Could Boost Your Spouse's Claim of Infidelity
If your privacy settings are locked down tight, but your friend's accounts are not, you could be giving away information you never meant your spouse or his lawyer to see. If you are in a secret relationship, keep it off Facebook at least during your divorce proceedings. No one may have the right to judge you without walking a mile in your high heels, but that doesn't mean they won't try.
The Temptation to Vent Can Make Portray You in a Negative Light
Maybe you really were only looking for a shoulder to cry on when you posted that slanderous rant about your ex on your timeline, but guess what? His lawyer saw it, printed it, and now has evidence to use against you in court. You say you don't have anger issues? You say you're not bitter, and you only want what's best for the kids? You're going to have a difficult time proving your good intentions now -- after the whole world has been privy to your dark side.
Resist the urge to vent on social media, especially during times of stress, such as during your divorce. No good can come of it.
If you must turn to your 131 Facebook friends in your time of need, at least take precautions:
- Lock down your privacy settings, and avoid interacting with those friends who share all their information with the free world.
- Never post when you're angry. Set yourself a minimum time limit -- no posts before three hours have passed since the incident.
- Compose every post as though you're writing it for the judge to see. This will definitely help you identify those rants better left unwritten.
Sharing your pain and heartache with your friends may feel like the right thing at the time, but do yourself a favor and visit with them face-to-face. Spewing venom across all your social media channels just looks bad, and when you're embroiled in an already-bitter divorce, bad is not the place you want to be.