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Melissa A. Featherston

Social media may have a negative effect on child custody cases

Social media has become a natural part of life for most people. We use it to blow off steam when our jobs get stressful, brag about our successes and sometimes share intimate details of our lives that we might not reveal if we were face to face. When people in Missouri are going through divorce proceedings and/or child custody litigation, however, some attorneys suggest they keep it all to themselves. Using social media to reveal personal details may negatively impact the case's outcome.

Since social media may be used for evidence in a divorce proceeding, it is not advisable to delete one's accounts. It may be wise to simply avoid using them for a while since one's spouse and his or her attorney may be monitoring such sites for evidence. Some of that evidence may include posts about lavish vacations or purchases that contradict any statements one has made regarding finances. They may also look for evidence of infidelity or changes in employment that may affect a judge's decisions.

When fighting for custody, it would not be a good idea for a person to post pictures or comments about inappropriate behavior or late night parties. For example, status updates of one's video game scores may not impress a judge who expects that person to be looking for work. Blocking a spouse from viewing one's site may not prevent him or her from seeing any activity through friends' accounts.

Emails, text messages, dating sites and other social media may all play a crucial part in the decisions that are made during divorce or child custody cases. Resisting the urge to publicize personal information until the divorce is final may be helpful in assuring a positive outcome. Those in Missouri who are facing divorce may ask their attorneys for advice about how to deal with social media while their cases are still active.

Source: The Huffington Post, "A Look at How Social Media is Impacting Divorce Cases", William Morrow, June 23, 2016

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