Whether it’s Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, or tumblr, chances are you maintain at least one social media account on a regular basis. But when you are going through a separation or divorce, you need to be especially careful when it comes to sharing information on social media, as one wrong post or photo can be used as evidence against you and even affect alimony and custody judgments.

  1. Consider deleting or suspending all of your social media accounts. This is usually the best option for maintaining your privacy and protecting your rights during your divorce or separation.
  2. If you keep your social media accounts, change all of your passwords and update privacy settings so you are only sharing information with a select group of friends. Keep in mind, though, there is no such thing as total privacy when it comes to the Internet regardless of your privacy settings. Even if you have blocked certain users from viewing your account, there is no guarantee that a friend or a “friend of a friend” has access to your account will share your comments and photos without your knowledge. As one recent social media study said, “Posting to a social network site is like speaking to an audience from behind a curtain. The audience remains invisible to the user: while the invitation list is known, the final attendance is not.”
  3. Divorce can be stressful, but don’t give into the temptation to vent your frustration online. Do not post anything—positive or negative—about your former spouse or partner, as it can be taken out of context and used against you. Better yet, do not share anything about your divorce, separation, or family situation. This also includes sharing information on a new relationship.
  4. Go through all of your social media accounts and remove any material—such as posts, photos, or videos—that could be used against you or discount your character and credibility. For example, delete photos that contain alcoholic beverages or that might be construed as inappropriate.
  5. Change your account settings so others cannot tag you in photos or posts. Furthermore, tell your friends not to tag or mention you in any of their posts or photos.
  6. Do not accept a friend or follower requests from people you do not know.
  7. Turn off location services and avoid “checking in” to places such as restaurants or movie theaters. No one needs to know your every movement.
  8. Apps such as Snapchat, which allow users to send “self-destructing” messages, are not foolproof. Someone can easily take a screenshot before a message disappears.
  9. If you have to question whether or not your post is appropriate for social media, it is probably best to not go through with it. In other words, don’t do or say something that you wouldn’t want to admit to in a courtroom.
  10. It should go without saying, but these rules also apply to all other electronic communication—such as blogs, email, and text messages—and even dating websites, such as Match or eHarmony.