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Will your Facebook profile stay private in divorce?

When you and your spouse decide to split up, you may try to create distance on social media. You could "unfriend" your spouse and adjust your privacy settings. But does it really mean that your profile is going to stay private?

First of all, just disconnecting with someone on social media doesn't mean he or she can't find a way to see your posts. If you and your ex have friends in common, those friends can still see your posts and could easily show them to your ex.

Of top of that, a recent court case has set a precedent, showing that Facebook profiles can be used as evidence, and people can even be ordered to print off all of the pictures and posts that they have so that the court can have hard copies of the documents.

That's exactly what happened to a woman who was fighting for her rights to have custody of her child. Her spouse was arguing that she couldn't raise the child because she traveled too often without him.

On Facebook were accounts of these travels, including pictures of her in Italy. Her child was not with her at the time. The judge said that the time she spent with the child was crucial to the ruling, so her Facebook posts had to be turned over as evidence of her actions and lifestyle.

The precedent set in this case is enormous, and it really calls into account how conscious people must be of the things they post online and the impact these posts can have in divorce cases in California -- even if people assumed their online activity was private.

Source: American Bar Association, "The use of Facebook in child custody cases," Priyanka Verma, accessed Feb. 19, 2016

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