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Facebook posts commonly referenced in divorce court

Last September we discussed the idea of social media in the context of a Missouri divorce. Commentators have noted that posts online have been increasingly used as evidence in family court proceedings all over the country in recent years. There are many social media outlets where people communicate with the world. Often, a quick vent will make its way online, which can later make news. A divorce can be stressful.

But, when it comes to social media, Facebook may be more common across many demographics. Several years ago a national society of divorce lawyers noted that Facebook was mentioned in about one-third of all divorce cases across the country. That was a sharp increase from the roughly one in five divorce cases that mentioned Facebook in three years earlier in 2008.

A recent story in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution does not mention if the numbers have been updated. One of the noteworthy anecdotes from the recent article relates to the types of content that may make it into divorce proceedings in general.

Commentators say that messages from one spouse involved in a divorce to a member of the opposite sex posted online are among the most common examples of what may be used in a divorce proceeding. But, postings placed online by a spouse in a divorce are not the only kind of information used in a family court setting. The newspaper article acknowledges that in a divorce involving children, postings from parents and their children have been used in child custody battles.

In Missouri, child custody disputes can involve contentious battles over the child’s emotional health in addition to the child’s physical well being. The courts consider information about relationships through the lens of the best interests of the child.

Source: Atlanta Journal-Constitution, “‘Facebook’ named in a third of divorce filings,” George Mathis, Feb. 11, 2014

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