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What happens to electronic data in divorce?

Most people do not put a lot of time into composing their tweets or their Facebook posts. Social media is used mainly to stay in touch with friends and family about where you're going in Butler County or what you're doing. The posts are typically not meant to be profound or life-changing.

But consider this: those casual Twitter and Facebook missives might play prominent roles in your divorce, including helping a court decide matters such as child custody and property division.

That is the opinion of Jeff Landers, a financial advisor and Forbes contributor who writes about divorce.

Landers says tweets and Facebook posts, along with your texts and emails, can figure into divorce settlement negotiations and court rulings. He says that in a contentious divorce, attorneys will examine digital content for evidence that might help their client.

In cases where a spouse has been planning a divorce for awhile, he or she might have been documenting damning digital content for some time already. So what can you do? Landers says there is not much to be done once the Send button has been hit on Facebook, email, texts and tweets.

Going on a damage-control delete-binge will likely just draw attention to your digital content.

But he notes that there are several things you can do that can help, including the following:

  • Change your passwords (and make sure the new passwords are not easily guessed)
  • Open a new email account to be used for personal emails
  • Review and adjust privacy settings on social media
  • Maintain control of your phones, computers, tablets
  • Stop syncing calendars and other apps with your spouse
  • Restrict online activities; keep social media posts bland, sensible

Landers also urges you to discuss with your family law attorney any concerns you might have about your digital content or your spouse's digital content. These matters can be important in divorce in today's increasingly online world.

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