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Engaged in divorce proceedings? Disengage from social media.

For those embroiled in a contentious divorce, a friendly face or show of support can cast a ray of sunshine into a dark time. Commiserating with those who have been down a similar road and sharing positive updates with loved ones can lighten a load made heavy by bickering with a soon-to-be ex. As soul-soothing as these communiqués are, however, those that are transmitted via computer can further darken the tone of divorce proceedings because they can be used as evidence in court.

Divorce attorneys know that people in crisis often reach out to others for solace using the most effective and efficient way possible: social media. It is for this reason, that social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are the first places attorneys visit when culling the internet for evidence supporting their client's case.

In a poll conducted by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, 81 percent of the lawyers surveyed stated that they noticed an increase in cases in which information gleaned from social media sites was used as evidence. The same attorneys admitted that Facebook was the first place they'd look for information they could wield in court. 66 percent of them said that the site had offered up data they later introduced.

While sharing information online may be cathartic, those seeking to resolve proceedings as painlessly as possible would do well to avoid sharing this information with computer confidants:

1. Facebook posts

A relaxing vacation or an especially productive episode of retail therapy should not be posted online. Such documentation can support claims that a spouse may have more income than was previously recorded.

Those engaged in a custody dispute should think twice before sharing questionable photos with "friends" on Facebook. While initially innocuous, these images can be contorted to support a claim that a parent is not fit to supervise children.

2. Status updates

Informing business contacts of a new employment opportunity or a promotion can prove a dangerous admission for those engaged in divorce proceedings because such revelations can support a claim that a former spouse should be entitled to more financial support.

3. E-mail correspondence

The late night venting sessions on the computer are warehoused on a server that can be retrieved at a later time. For those living together while divorcing, their shared house computer can provide a treasure trove of information because the court will recognize that both spouses had the authority to access the machine.

While the support that an online community can provide may temporarily lighten an emotional load, engaging in this form of communication will eventually add to the burden in the evidence it amasses. Those posting do so at their peril. Privacy settings can be circumvented and "friends" may have malicious intent. Social media may be an engaging way to reach out to others; however, those embroiled in divorce best promote their own interests by disengaging from these sites.

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