During a divorce, social media is the outlet to which many people turn to distract themselves or vent about their experience.

However, if you are going through a divorce, it is important to stop and think about the message you are sending to others with your social media habits, statements and decisions.

Messages to your ex

Even if you unfriend or unfollow your ex, you can still be sending messages to him or her through your social media use. Other people might tag you in pictures; your ex or someone else might see you on a dating app; you could literally exchange messages with your ex in various apps. During a divorce, assume that anything you do or say online could potentially get back to your ex — who might use it against you in court or mediation sessions.

Messages to your peers

Your social media network is likely larger than you think. Remember this when you post statuses, share pictures or like other people and pages. It’s not just you and your most visible friends who can see your activity; it’s also your employer, colleagues, relatives and acquaintances. As such, consider refraining from sharing information that is overly personal.

Messages to your children

Venting about your ex or saying inappropriate things online can seem better than making such statements in front of a child, but kids can also see what their parents do online. Even if they aren’t active on certain social media sites now, their friends might be. And someday, your child can look back on the things you said or pictures you posted. Keep this in mind and imagine what your child would think if he or she were standing over your shoulder as you use social media.

For better or worse, the things we say and do on social media can have a more significant impact on others than we think. And during a divorce, they could even could create or exacerbate serious problems and legal issues.

If you are going to use social media during divorce, do so thoughtfully and with an appreciation for the message you might be sending — intentionally or not. If it’s not one you like, consider stepping back from social media until after a divorce.