Facebook, Twitter, Instagram — a mere five years ago these services were brand-new or did not exist at all. But today, social media is ubiquitous in every area of our lives, opening a window into a heretofore private world and creating a world of potential complications for those seeking jobs, fighting criminal charges, and for those in the midst of a divorce. Illinois residents are urged by some experts to reconsider what they are and are not posting during divorce proceedings, because the content of their posts could have repercussions at the negotiation table.

Quite often, couples in a marriage have mutual friends, and these connections translate to social media. In divorce situations, friends often feel the need to pick “sides”, which means a spouse could have a window into a protected profile through a friend still connected socially on the likes of Facebook. That means anything posted can be viewed by a spouse and used as evidence in a divorce settlement, for example in the case of hidden assets that might be revealed in a social post.

In effect, social media is a paper trail. Texts, emails, and yes — even social media posts — are admissible as evidence in court, which means in a very real sense, anything you say (or post) can and will be used against you at the negotiation table. Further, there is no way to fully make private everything that is posted, so the rule of thumb being forwarded by some experts is “don’t say it online if you don’t want it known”. This is sage advice for anyone going through a divorce, both online and offline.

Divorce can already be a difficult process, particularly if the circumstances are not amicable. The best way to protect assets and ensure an equitable solution outside of seeking external support in the filing process is to remain professional and discrete in all dealings during the process. Illinois residents are urged to think before they post to avoid headaches down the line.

Source: Forbes, How Social Media Can Affect Your Divorce, Jeff Landers, Aug. 20, 2013