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Social media content can be damaging in divorce cases

Most Wisconsin residents have at least one active social media account and many have several. Online platforms like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram allow people to stay in touch with friends, colleagues and family members, but they can also provide divorcing spouses with material that can be used in both property division negotiations and family court. Spouses who post disparaging comments about their soon-to-be ex husbands or wives should bear in mind that this information can sometimes be retrieved even if it was subsequently deleted.

Social media posts that could prove problematic in a divorce case include photographs that suggest infidelity or reveal extravagant spending. People who claim that they are finding it difficult to make ends meet could find images of lavish purchases hard to explain, and online chats that arranged romantic trysts could prompt family law judges to take a firmer approach than they otherwise would have. Spouses who have made such posts may be wise to delete them before taking legal action. They should also consider revising their privacy settings and removing friends or followers who could prove embarrassing.

Divorce is an emotional process, which can make social media use problematic as posts are often made on impulse and in haste. Divorcing spouses should think carefully about what they say online until a settlement has been reached, and noncustodial parents should avoid using social media to snoop on their children.

Attorneys with family law experience may check social media in divorce cases because the information found on these platforms tends to be more revealing than what is said in formal environments like legal offices or courtrooms. They could also contact information technology specialists to run thorough background checks and look for missing data when Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts have been deleted.

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