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The role that social media may play in a divorce

New Yorkers may think a quick Facebook or Twitter update venting about an ex is harmless, but anything posted to social media may be harmful if the couple is going through a divorce proceeding. In a contested divorce, where two people are unable to come to an agreement on anything from alimony to property division to child custody, social media posts may be used against one party to a divorce in a variety of scenarios.

A parent vying for custody of a child may try to show that the other parent is negligent by showing the judge a post that seems to demonstrate that the parent was not adequately supervising the child on his or her watch because the he or she was off doing something else with friends or because the child was off getting into trouble. A post showing that a teen was having an underage party with the permission of one parent may be damaging to that parent’s image.

When spouses are fighting about alimony or the existence of marital assets, online updates may reveal how much money a spouse actually does or does not have. Blocking the other spouse from viewing an individual account may not be enough, because networks tend to be extensive. Social media is not the only place where asset hiding may be traced. A spouse will also be able to see if an ex transfers funds out of an account that contains marital assets.

Even deleting a negative post may be harmful because this may be seen as hiding evidence. Ideally, a person getting a divorce would refrain from posting anything incriminating or from improperly relocating marital assets in the first place. However, if there are concerns about something that has already been done and questions about how to minimize damage, a family law attorney may be consulted about what course of action an individual may want to take.

Source: The Huffington Post, “The Divorce Mistakes You Don’t Even Know You’re Making“, Taryn Hill, March 18, 2014

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