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Timely reminder these days: take care on social media during divorce

How much time do you spend on the Internet on an average day?

Reported estimates vary regarding the extent of daily interaction for most Americans engaged with their computers and smartphones. Some individuals are relatively restrained in their online behavior, while others, well … . Both anecdotal and empirical evidence point to legions of people who fully focus on non-work web-linked activities for many hours each day.

For scores of millions off those people, that sheer commitment to screen time revolves around their interaction with social media sites. There are an exponentially growing number of those. Major players include Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and other high-profile platforms.

The lure of engagement is obvious, as underscored in a Michigan-sourced legal article on the centrality of social media in American life. That overview duly notes that, “Logging on to a favorite social networking site … can be a way to forge new relationships or a fun way to pass the time.”

But it can also be this in the context of family law: a public trove of information readily available to an impending ex in a contested divorce matter.

An “open book” analogy might be appropriate here. The above source makes the telling point that the “digital record” instantly created by an online post, image or other data is essentially viewable by a global audience. Moreover, once it appears online, it is not easily retractable. In fact, it is often permanent.

That can yield harsh and unforeseen consequences in any marital dissolution marked by disagreement or conflict. It is not hard to note the downsides for a posting spouse who brags about a work raise while lamenting the alleged inability to make minimal child support payments. Ditto that for a parent who seeks child custody yet uploads evidence of drug use or criminal activity.

The bottom line concerning the social network profile of an individual seeking a divorce is that it needs to be carefully monitored and appraised from the perspective of its potential impact on a dissolution outcome.

Questions or concerns can be directed to an experienced family law legal team.