Photo of Karen Lavin

In Illinois and elsewhere, social media has become a prominent way to interact with others. People use social networking services such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and others to tell people what they are up to and to share their tragedies and triumphs. That sharing, however, may leave them vulnerable during a divorce.

This is because social media can offer a treasure trove of juicy information — even for Illinoisans who handle their profiles carefully. Why: Because married couples accrue numerous mutual friends, some of which will side with one spouse, while others will side with the other spouse. That dichotomy means that some friends may actually be spies, feeding the other spouse every damaging detail.

But spies are not the only worry. Even loyal friends can cause trouble. Pictures and messages they post can cause damage too. Maybe they show a picture of the car they recently purchased that looks similar to one of the couples’ cars. That may be evidence of hiding assets. Or, perhaps, a new boyfriend or girlfriend posts about an expensive gift they just received after the spouse claimed he or she did not have money for alimony.

These tidbits can become powerful weapons in the opposing spouse’s arsenal. As a result, Illinoisans going through a divorce should take great care with their social media profiles. That means, at a minimum, treating every post and picture like a judge will see it. Because if the post or picture is damaging, there is a decent chance the judge will see it.

Social media is just one of many land mines Illinoisans going through a divorce need to consider when facing a divorce or separation. To avoid stepping on this, and other legal land mines, Illinoisans may benefit from professional experience to help with issues including child support, alimony, mediation and child custody. It’s possible that social media could be used to benefit or hurt a divorcing party and a professional will know how to best handle that aspect of divorce proceedings.

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