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When might social media be a factor in divorce negotiations?

If you're going through a divorce, there may be the temptation to air your grievances through any one of the forms of social media that Americans use every day. But spouses in Massachusetts should be mindful of how their tweets, Facebook posts and emails might affect divorce negotiations, especially if matters such as child custody and spousal support are in dispute.

Likewise, if a divorcing spouse has made some compromising maneuvers in the world of social media, then the other spouse may be able to use social media evidence to achieve a better settlement. Last month we discussed some measures spouses might take to protect themselves from social media fallout, so let's consider some situations in which social media might be a factor.

Definitely, in disputes over child custody, parents will want to be careful about their texting and online correspondence. A court will always consider the best interests of the child in establishing custody, so a violent or harassing email typed out in the heat of passion could make one parent appear less fit for custody than the other.

Unfortunately, in divorce negotiations, sometimes one spouse will try to hide assets from the other. This is illegal, however, as Massachusetts law calls for a fair and equitable division of marital property. So if a Facebook post refers to a secretly purchased new car or a secret vacation with a boyfriend or girlfriend, then that information could be very useful in fairly splitting assets in a divorce.

The main thing to keep in mind is that, generally speaking, cooler heads will prevail. Not every divorce has to be highly contentious, but when they are, it is important to have an experienced divorce attorney on your side.

Source: Forbes, "How Social Media Can Affect Your Divorce," Jeff Landers, Aug. 20, 2013

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