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The impact that social media now has on interpersonal relationships is nothing short of astounding. People can now keep in touch with extended family, catch up with old friends, and even track down an old high school love interest; all from the comfort of their own homes. Never before has it been easier for Florida residents to reconnect with people or to branch out and make new friends and acquaintances. That said, social media also affords a number of opportunities to create family law issues, many of which can have unwelcome consequences.

When an individual is facing a divorce or child custody fight, one of the first things that the other side will do is make a thorough review of all social media accounts. If those accounts contain information or photographs that shed light on the case, those items will almost certainly be brought in as evidence. For example, a parent who is claiming that she cannot make her child support payments but has Facebook posts detailing her latest expensive vacation could be called to answer for those expenditures if the matter goes to court.

Another example might be a father who is claiming that he has provided the bulk of child care during recent years, but his social media account shows him travelling to far-flung destinations on a regular basis. His former wife could use those posts to back up her own claim of serving in the role of primary parent. At that point, it would be up to the court to determine how much weight to give information gleaned online.

Courts are slow to catch up to social trends, and this is true in regard to the use of social media within family law issues. That said, more and more judges in Florida and elsewhere are beginning to recognize the wealth of information that can be mined from social media. For those who are preparing for a divorce, child support or child custody case, it might be time to take a break from social media and to evaluate the information that already exists online.

Source: abcactionnews.com, “Social media a potent tool for divorce lawyers tracking down deadbeat parents, others”, Sarina Fazan, Oct. 22, 2015