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Can Facebook posts be used in a divorce trial?

Many Alabama residents have become accustomed to checking social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter on a daily basis. From checking their friends’ updates to posting messages of their own, there is never a shortage of ways to stay connected. Yet, individuals who may be going through a divorce need to watch what they write on social networking sites, or it could create child custody issues.

The dangers of posting damaging information on social networking sites are very real. When this information gets out, even to friends, it can end up being used in a divorce case and can impact property division or even child custody. Indeed, last year, 81 percent of all divorce cases used evidence from a social media site.

In determining which parent gets custody of the children, courts consider various factors, typically under the umbrella of considering the best interests of the child. Among these factors, courts may consider certain aspects of the parents’ behavior.

For instance, courts try to determine what would promote the child’s relationship with other members of the household or extended family of either parent. If a parent posts negative information about the other spouse’s extended family, this could impact how the court might view that factor. Similarly, another factor looks at the parent’s drug, alcohol or sex abuse, and a Facebook post showing any of these issues could be a detriment to obtaining child custody.

Accordingly, individuals must be careful what they post online. Individuals should keep in mind that anything they post might be used in a divorce trial and impact important things like child custody decisions.

Source: Washington Times, “Email, texting can become a WMD during a divorce or custody case,” Myra Fleischer, April 23, 2013