Social-media websites abound on the Internet, and it almost seems as if new sites are popping up daily. Sites such as Facebook, MySpace, Tumblr, Flickr, Google+ and Twitter let people share their thoughts, locations and photos with all of the people in their networks. This new ultra-connectivity has begun to impact divorce and child-custody proceedings as courts in Nevada and across the country now have to deal with evidence gleaned from social media websites.
Divorcing Couple Ordered to Swap Passwords
One particularly vivid example of the impact of social media on family-law proceedings happened when a man going through a divorce in Connecticut saw some information on the family computer about his wife's activities that made him suspect there was information on her Facebook and internet-dating website accounts that would assist him in obtaining primary custody of his children. He asked the judge for access to his wife's social media accounts.
The judge responded by ordering the couple to give each other the passwords to all of their social-networking website and internet-dating website accounts. The judge also forbade them from erasing any content on the sites after handing over the passwords.
Social Media in Divorce and Custody Disputes
Family law attorneys report that social media is showing up more frequently in divorce and child-custody cases. The American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers reported that a survey of its members found that 80 percent of the respondents had seen an increase in social media evidence in their divorce cases.
Now spouses are able to search the Internet and find photos of expensive vacations or new cars to refute spouses' claims they cannot pay spousal or child support. Or they find pictures of parents doing inappropriate activities around children, such as drinking or using drugs.
Photos are not the only evidence that finds its way into court. In some cases, a parent's status update or post on Twitter about the other parent can make that parent seem irrational or unwilling to cooperate in co-parenting. Similar to photographs, such postings can also supply evidence of a person's whereabouts and activities - making them as potentially damaging as photos of new cars, vacations, drinking or drug use.
Contact a knowledgeable family law lawyer to learn more about how social media may affect your divorce or child-custody case.