Before you visit your divorce attorney in Pasadena, it might be a good idea to clean up your Facebook page. According to a 2009 study conducted by Divorce-Online, nearly 20 percent of all divorces filed last year mentioned Facebook in court documents. What we post, who we "friend" and what pictures we appear in can impact our divorce cases and family members. So we've compiled a top five list of guidelines to help make your divorce and social networking easier.
1.) Keep it to Yourself: Resist the urge to change your status to "single" the minute your ex moves out. Children with Facebook pages may be hurt by brazen announcements of single-hood. Also, status changes can elicit dozens of "what happened?!?" posts on your wall, causing you to experience painful and annoying retellings of where it all went wrong. Until everything is final, keep your status on the down low.
2.) Untag and Delete: Your divorce is the perfect time to dump those embarrassing pictures that have wound up on your page. After all, those flirty pictures with you and a coworker while you were still married won't exactly help your divorce. Also, those drunken photos in Mexico can be viewed by lawyers and potential employers everywhere. If a friend has an embarrassing picture of you, send them a private message to remove it and also untag yourself from all incriminating photos.
3.) The Password is... Change: This is another "better safe than sorry" measure. Change your Facebook, email and other online passwords pronto if you're going through a divorce. We like to think our social network accounts wouldn't be plundered while going through divorce proceedings, but people can go a little crazy and it's smart to be cautious.
4.) Check Your Settings: You will undoubtedly have that one tactless friend who demands to know all the dirty details about your divorce via wall postings. Change your privacy settings that have wall posts get your approval before they can be seen by anyone else. Also, there is the option to block big mouth users from posting on your wall, too. This is a good time to also update and change the privacy settings on your kids' Facebook pages, too, in order to keep them safe from harsh words that might upset them.
5.) Reach Out: Facebook is a lot of fun, but it can also be a very useful tool during a divorce. By privately connecting with friends and family members on Facebook who have gone through divorce, you may be able to get a lot of tips, suggestions and loving support. Of course, this should be done only with those whom you trust. But the site can open doors to much needed help from loved ones around the world.
One final thought: Keep social networking in perspective. Sites like Facebook are meant to be fun, so try not to drag your complicated personal life on there. And just be thankful you won't have to split half of your Farmville possessions with your ex.