Last April, we discussed the plight of a woman who was in a contentious child custody dispute during a divorce. The family court judge had found content online that the woman allegedly posted regarding how she disciplined her child, along with other commentary about her kids. The idea of social media content making its way into family court is not a new concept.
In 2008, a national association of divorce lawyers said that about 20 percent of divorce cases across the country had involved at least one mention of Facebook, a highly popular social media outlet. By 2011, the percentage of cases that brought up Facebook had reached 33 percent.
The kinds of information that commentators say may make it into a family court dispute may often involve short comments made online. An alleged comment made by one party in a divorce to a member of the opposite sex is noted as a highly common form of content used in divorces, according to a recent article in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. But, the use of evidence from Facebook is not necessarily confined to comments involving only the divorcing parties. Commentators say that postings placed online by children have made their way into divorce court in some child custody hearings.
New social media outlets seem to pop up from time-to-time providing new avenues for social online interaction.
Our California readers may understand how prevalent these outlets are in today’s technological world. Often, people may share a quick thought, or post a photo online related to a weekend outing.
Use of online content in a divorce may tap into these quips and images in a variety of different ways. Divorcing parents may seek to bring online commentary into a child custody dispute. A photo may reveal evidence of alleged hidden assets in a dispute over property division. Pleasanton, California, area residents seeking a divorce may want to speak with a family law attorney about their online presence, as well as that of their estranged spouse.
Source: Atlanta Journal-Constitution, “‘Facebook’ named in a third of divorce filings,” George Mathis, Feb. 11, 2014