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Social media, the internet and divorce: What do I need to know?

Those going through a divorce often find support by reaching out to friends and loved ones. In the past, this meant meeting up for dinner or coffee or even chatting over a phone call. Today, it often means touching base with our online community.

Although this community may provide support, when it comes to divorce those who turn to online platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and the like can find that this interaction can impact their divorce and child custody proceedings.

The role of social media during divorce

Data supports the fact that posting on online platforms and other forms of internet use can impact the outcome of divorce cases. Researchers with Loyola University Health System found that one in five divorces in the United States cite Facebook at some point during their divorce case. The American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (AAML) also found that 81% of divorce lawyers are looking for online evidence to support allegations of infidelity and other bad behavior.

The potential to fuel allegations of abuse

In more extreme cases, one party may use postings made through social media to help build allegations of domestic abuse. A current example is the divorce between Kanye West and Kim Kardashian. Mr. West has used his Instagram and other forms of social media to make comments about his former wife Ms. Kardashian and her new boyfriend. Some view these comments as too aggressive and border on bullying and even show the potential for an abusive situation. If a judge agrees, the comments could have a negative impact on his attempts to gain child custody of his children with Ms. Kardashian.

Depending on the details of the remarks, Ms. Kardashian or others in similar situations could use the comments and posts as evidence to support allegations of domestic abuse. This can directly impact a divorce case in many ways. For example, those getting divorced in Tennessee are generally required by state law to go through mediation instead of traditional litigation. Those who are the subject of abuse can avoid this requirement.

The allegations can also impact child custody determinations. This is because the court takes the best interest of the child into account when making its decision. This is true in Tennessee and most states throughout the country. If there is evidence of abuse, the court will generally not grant that individual custody or even visitation rights.

The impact on your case

The main takeaway is that we must remember what we post online matters. Those going through a divorce are wise to approach social media use as something that could show up in court. Instead of providing the other side with evidence to help build their case, consider avoiding posts during divorce. If you must go online, make sure to avoid anything that could impact your case. Avoid using social media to vent about the divorce and make sure your privacy settings are set to the highest possible level. Also, make sure not to discuss any details about the case online.

Those who have questions about their social media use can find answers. An attorney experienced in the impact of online interactions like social media, dating websites or other internet use can answer these and other questions you may have about the impact of any postings on your divorce and help you navigate the process.

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