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Survey: Internet posts increasingly used in divorce court

It seems that social media is here to stay. Social media outlets have been around for a while, and may be reaching the age of adolescence, but at the same time, the number of sites or forms of media continues to grow. Facebook posts are commonly used in traditional media by reporters who are trying to figure out an angle about someone in the news. Twitter messages are commonly reported as a measure of the popularity of a subject--even in the world of politics.

For many people, posting a message on Facebook, or creating a short Tweet to state an opinion is commonplace. But that information can later come back as evidence in court. Our comfort level with social media is not the only place where Internet communications have taken place of more traditional forms of interaction.

Internet messages and information from such sources as dating sites are commonly used in the courtroom, according to a recent survey of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers. The survey says that 59 percent of the lawyers who participated in the survey acknowledged that they have seen an increase in evidence mined from dating websites presented in family court proceedings.

Facebook messages and images, as well as Tweets on Twitter can be sources of information that are used in a divorce proceeding. Take for instance the best interests of the child standard commonly used in child custody disputes. Images and messages on the Internet, even those posted briefly and then deleted, can be reclaimed as evidence in court, which can be used in an attempt to sway a judge one way or the other in a custody dispute.

Social media is ubiquitous, indeed. It has found its way into court. A person contemplating divorce, or already in a divorce proceeding, may wish to consult with legal counsel about how Internet profiles and messages can be used in the area of family law.

Source: Huffington Post, "Divorce and online dating: A match made in court?," Alton Abramowitz, March 9, 2013

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