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Think carefully before announcing your divorce via social media

In today's hyper-interconnected world, social media have become a part of daily life for people in Massachusetts. While these websites such as Facebook have allowed people to more easily stay in contact with each other, and Twitter has even been lauded as a major reason why the Arab Spring was possible, they also implicate privacy. Anybody on social media has seen postings or comments that seem a little too private to be broadcast publicly and permanently across the internet.

An emerging trend is for couples to announce their divorce via social media. This is particularly true for celebrities and other high profile couples.

The trend is controversial. Some find the impersonal public announcement to be tacky and classless. They also question the very necessity of announcing a divorce over the internet.

However not everyone agrees. Some people explain that these social media announcements can be useful for high profile couples. It allows the couple to speak directly to the public, without having the information go through the filter of gossip columns. This can give the couple much more control over how they want their divorce to be viewed by others.

Proponents of social media also point out that the utility of social media is not confined to the rich and famous. When a couple divorces, they often struggle with the best way to inform close family and friends. It can be difficult to break the news in person, so social media allows all friends and loved ones to receive the news simultaneously.

Regardless of how people feel about discussing their divorce on social media, they should nonetheless think carefully about what they put online. Even with privacy guards, information posted on the internet is essentially public. With emotions running high, couples may turn to the internet to vent their frustrations. Anything said online could conceivably be retrieved by the other side and negatively affect some divorce legal issues, such as child custody.

Source: indystar.com, "Tacky or tasteful: Divorce announcement via social media," Dana Hunsinger Benbow, April 15, 2013

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