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Warning: Facebook rants may affect alimony and child support

Social media, Facebook in particular, has become an integrated part of the lives of many Massachusetts residents. Some of us have become so accustomed to sharing our lives online that we update and post almost automatically, with very little thought given to what could happen to that information once it is out of our hands. However, when it comes to issues surrounding one's divorce, posting is not the best policy, and can actually have serious ramifications for issues such as child support and alimony.

Even if you think that your former partner does not or cannot see your Facebook activity, this is not the place to air your grievances about the marriage or divorce. If you make comments online that can be proven false, such as claiming that your ex is not meeting his or her child support obligations, the other party can sue you for libel. Also consider the long-term ramifications; if you post negative things about the other spouse and he or she loses a job because of it, their ability to pay child support or alimony could be severely limited, and they could approach the court to ask for a reduced amount.

Another thing to remember is that Facebook is forever. What you write, can almost always be recovered and brought to the attention of a court, even if you have erased it from your news feed. That heightens the risk that a child may one day read the negative things you said about the other parent.

Even though many Massachusetts residents have fully embraced social media as a way to stay in touch with friends and family, individuals should think very carefully about what personal information they post on Facebook and elsewhere. More and more often these posts make their way into court. When that occurs, your every thought and opinion on your ex can have significant detrimental effects on your interests when it comes to child support, alimony or other matters.

Source: Chicago Tribune, "Your Money: Trashing your ex on Facebook may cost you," Geoff Williams, Aug. 22, 2012

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