Thursday, June 26, 2014

Divorce and social media: Where should the line be drawn?

At times, a person may feel frustrated or confused by the way things are proceeding during his or her divorce. In this day and age, people might turn to popular social media sites like Facebook or Twitter to vent in the hopes of receiving support from friends. The problem with this, however, is that social media content can come back to haunt someone as they move forward with divorce.
One man quickly found his claim for child custody in jeopardy after he made a comment about his divorce in a Facebook post. After making a generalized statement about losing custody, the man's ex-wife filed a successful motion for contempt of court.

Even though the man in this case didn't specifically call out the mother of his child, his words were used against him. In response to the contempt charges, the family law judge gave the man an opportunity to post a daily, prepared apology on his Facebook page or spend 60 days in jail.
According to the Huffington Post, the man complied with online apologies for a short time, but soon stopped doing so. Fortunately, the man didn't face time behind bars and was eventually granted custody, but his route probably isn't the best for every parent.

The important thing to remember is that people are watching what you say on social media. Even after the man blocked his ex-wife on Facebook, she was still able to get a hold of his post. A seemingly harmless statement made in the heat of the moment can be brought before a judge during a child custody hearing. As such, a parent could lose their claim for custody, even if they are well-suited for parenting.

It's understandable why some parents might be frustrated by the process to obtain custody, but the important thing to remember is that custody decisions will ultimately be based on the best interested of the kids. Knowing this, family courts may use any available evidence to tip the scales in favor of one parent over the other.

Regina I. Edwards

Source: The Huffington Post, "How A Facebook Post Almost Got This Dad Thrown In Jail," Jan. 24, 2014

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