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Social media has gone beyond novelty status and has become a fixture of modern life. Many of us share a substantial portion of our day-to-day lives on platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram; you could even track just about every move some people make in a given day from their social media activity. More and more, those posts tossed up without a second thought are becoming evidence in divorce and custody disputes. In short: be careful what you post. 

Recently, a New York family court has permitted the admission of Facebook posts as evidence in a custody battle. In this case, out of Westchester County, the father of a young boy is arguing that he has been the primary caregiver of the couples' child and thus should hold physical custody of the child. To support this claim, the husband included references in his motion to posts on Facebook made by the mother from numerous travel destinations, including recent trips to Milan, Italy, and Boston. The mother objected to the admission of these posts by the court. Nevertheless, the judge ruled that they were, in fact, relevant to a custody determination, and ordered the mother to turn over login information to her Facebook page so that the judge could view the now-private posts.

If you're already in the midst of a legal fight and are beginning to wonder if you should run and delete a batch of posts on your social media pages, you should reconsider. Since social media can be introduced as evidence, the court could potentially penalize you for destroying relevant evidence. Instead, refrain from posting personal information during any legal actions, and ask your friends not to tag you in posts that could be compromising.

Remember, the availability of social media as evidence in family court can cut both ways. If your former spouse has been indiscriminate with posts that show poor judgement, a lifestyle seemingly dependent on greater resources than he or she claims to have, or a propensity to take long trips away from home without concern for their children, this may be the concrete evidence you need to show that your children would be happier and better cared-for if primarily in your custody.

If you need experienced and compassionate legal assistance for your New Jersey divorce or custody action, contact Smith & Doran for a consultation on your claims at 973-292-0016.

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