Barbara J. Katzenberg, Attorney at Law
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A custody dispute can be jeopardized by social media

Social media sites have become a part of the lives of many Massachusetts residents. Some people are known to submit daily posts detailing their activities, along with the ups and downs of their lives. It is important to keep in mind that an individual's reputation that is created online could be detrimental as it may be referred to in a child custody dispute, and other lawsuits.

Although posts on the different social networks can be deleted, those posts may already have been shared by hundreds of people. It is also not uncommon for the most harmful posts to be shared as soon as they are posted. People facing custody disputes may want to be aware that if their posts are relevant to the case, chances are good that another party will potentially use the information against them.

Social media posts sometimes portray a side of an individual's personality that may be negatively perceived in court. When posts show the person attending parties, being intoxicated or engaging in what could be seen as irresponsible behavior, it may jeopardize the individual's chances of getting child custody. When it is necessary to prove the whereabouts of an individual at a specific time or date, social network posts may supply the needed evidence.

Social media posts usually have to relate directly to the custody dispute for it to be admissible in family court. Parties in a divorce case will have to be able to connect posts to a specific user for authentication; but, especially with Twitter, each post clearly shows the name. Those going through a civil law dispute may want to carefully consider what they post on social media. Massachusetts parents who are battling a child custody dispute may find comfort knowing that help is available to pursue a satisfactory outcome that will also be in the best interests of the children.

Source: bemidjipioneer.com, "Social media missteps can haunt careless posters and tweeters", Jasmine Maki, April 19, 2014

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