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Facebook's role in divorce and child custody

Does using Facebook make you more likely to divorce? Recent research suggests it may. According to a study published recently in Computers and Human Behavior, people who identify as heavy social-media users are twice as likely as non-users to consider leaving their spouses.

Whether or not Facebook and other social networking sites actually increase the likelihood of divorce, they can create problems during divorce. Therefore, it is important to be careful about how you use these sites if you are going through the process of ending a marriage.

One way that divorcing spouses can run into trouble with sites like Facebook and Twitter is in the area of child custody. In Texas, like other states, child custody determinations are based primarily on the child’s best interests. When parents disagree over how to care for their children after divorce, they may need to have the issue settled by a judge.

However, because a judge does not know the people involved in the dispute and is not familiar with their unique family circumstances, he or she will need to rely on outside evidence to determine what is in the child’s best interests. One place that this evidence can come from is Facebook -- and when it does, it often works against the parent who posted it, even if he or she thought it was harmless at the time.

People use social networking sites in all kinds of different ways, and especially during divorce it can be an appealing way to blow off steam. However, what may seem like an obvious joke to one person can be taken out of context and interpreted seriously by another. When that person is a soon-to-be-ex -- or worse yet, a family law judge -- an ill-considered post has the potential to affect your relationship with your children for years to come. For help protecting your parental rights during divorce, be sure to get help from an experienced child custody lawyer.

Source: The Wall Street Journal, "Does Facebook break up marriages?" Quentin Fottrell, July 13, 2014

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