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Evidence from social media accounts can prove damning in divorce cases

Individuals going through a divorce or custody dispute may feel anger and resentment towards an ex. This is particularly true in cases where a divorce is contentious or where there are ongoing disputes related to child custody and financial matters. At times, the feelings of anger directed towards an ex-spouse may drive an individual to engage in actions and behaviors that are not only childish, but may be used against them in divorce settlements and child custody disputes.

In recent years, social media websites have grown in popularity and use among numerous age demographics. Today teens, parents and grandparents readily use social media websites like Facebook and Twitter to express their viewpoints on and feelings about various topics as well as post and share photographs. These social media sites and the posts, musings and photos they contain have also gained the attention of divorce attorneys who readily use social media sites to collect information and evidence that may benefit a client.

Many social media users wrongly assume that their accounts and the contents of these accounts are only accessible to friends or followers. In reality, however, anything and everything that is posted on the Internet is public and can be accessed. What's more, the contents of one's social media accounts may prove to be damning if presented as evidence in divorce proceedings. 

For example, a husband who posts or tweets disparaging comments about a soon-to-be ex could be reprimanded by a divorce judge who may in turn favor an ex-wife when dividing marital assets. Additionally, a photograph of a child riding a horse may be used to build an argument in a child custody case that a parent is putting a child in danger.

When it comes to social media, the best advice for individuals going through a divorce is to be both civil and smart. In cases where an individual is guilty of posting a nasty comment about an ex, he or she is advised to own up to the mistake rather than try to delete or cover-up evidence as doing so is often more damning if presented as evidence in court.

Source: The Huffington Post, "The Divorce Mistakes You Don't Even Know You're Making," Taryn Hillin, March 18, 2014

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