Facebook and other social media sites have been around just long enough for most of us to learn that sharing the private details of our lives online can be dangerous. Whether it’s getting fired for complaining about a boss or getting arrested for posting pictures of illegal activity, you have likely heard stories of individuals who suffered the consequences of over-sharing on social media sites.

You probably also know that social media evidence is becoming common in family law disputes. If you are going through a divorce or child custody battle, you may already be self-censoring online in order to avoid obvious mistakes like badmouthing your spouse on your Facebook page. What you may not know, however, is that there are no real privacy protections when it comes to social media sites. Anything you post (and anything that is posted on your behalf) can and likely will be discovered by your spouse’s attorney.

It is unwise to assume that your social media postings are safe simply because you blocked your spouse and his/her friends from viewing your information. Once something is online, it can exist in some form forever, even if you delete it. Screenshots can turn a temporary post into permanent evidence.

The things you post on sites like Facebook can also be damaging if they seemingly contradict what you have been saying in court. It is hard to argue that you can’t afford alimony or child support, for instance, if you recently posted pictures of a lavish vacation.

Remember that what you put online tells a story about you. Even if that story is not entirely accurate, it is a lot harder to explain away your social media evidence than to avoid posting it in the first place.

If you want to know more about how Facebook and other sites could potentially hurt your legal case, please visit the page about social media on our website.

Source: The Huffington Post, “The Divorce Mistakes You Don’t Even Know You’re Making,” Taryn Hillin, March 18, 2014