The age of social media has only made divorce more complicated. In the roughly 15 years that social media has been a major presence in the cultural landscape, more than a few divorce settlements have been decided heavily based on the well-documented indiscretions of one party or another during and prior to divorce proceedings.

If you are in the middle of divorce, or even just considering one, one thing is absolutely vital – get your social media presence under control and make sure it stays that way.

Facebook and Twitter can completely sink your hopes of a fair divorce

It’s common knowledge that most divorces are a two-sided situation. As surely as your spouse can point at you and shout “look what he or she did,” you can almost certainly point to ways that your spouse has also contributed to the decline of your marriage. Unfortunately, that is not really what matters – what really matters is what can be documented.

More than a few divorces have been decided unfairly because one party or another was not careful with what he or she allowed to be placed on social media.

As far back as 2010, two-thirds of the country’s divorce lawyers were already using Facebook and other social media platforms as their go-to sources for digging up dirt on the opposing party. If you think that number has done anything but grow over the intervening years, you are sadly mistaken.

The truth of the matter is that everything you post online can and will be used against you. It doesn’t matter if you are a wonderful and loving father or mother – if you are photographed and tagged having fun at a bar, that may easily be spun into you being an alcoholic and neglectful parent.

Curate your online presence for the divorce settlement that you want

As unfair as it may be, a person’s online presence is often how he or she is seen by most people. It is vitally important that you clean up any depictions of behavior that you don’t want to influence a court when it comes time to decide your divorce settlement or custody arrangement.

This includes, of course, any pictures of overly friendly contact, alcohol consumption, smoking, and obviously any drug consumption or other behavior that is illegal. As a general rule of thumb, if a picture is not one that you would want to be shown at your child’s show-and-tell at school, or something that you would want to show your clergy person, then it needs to go.

Don’t wait until you need help to get help

When it comes to divorce, the way you choose to handle the procedures will have lasting effects on the rest of your life. Now is not the time to be waffling on the fence about how to proceed. If you are ready to take control of your divorce, the guidance of an experienced divorce attorney can help you navigate this difficult season while protecting your rights.