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posted in Divorce

on Thursday, December 1, 2011.

When a couple separates, it is often because of disagreements they have found they cannot resolve in their marriage. And when the divorce occurs, the former marriage, along with all of its accompanying assets, must be divided. Child custody battles ensue and the courts are sometimes forced to determine which parent would be the best for the child to stay with. Using evidence from their lifestyles, the parents are compared and a judge decides which will better perform in the best interests of the child.

With the onset of social networking, a new piece of evidence has entered the realm of divorce. Status updates, wall posts and private messages to friends can be used against an individual during the divorce proceedings. And in one court in Connecticut, a judge recently ordered a divorcing couple to exchange passwords to their Facebook pages as well as to the online dating websites they frequent. By doing this, the judge is hoping to allow both sides to find any evidence that will show a reason for one of the spouse’s to be awarded full custody.

The order came after one of the spouses apparently made comments on Facebook that the other wanted to use against them. According to some, this may be an emerging trend in divorces. Previously, lawyers would examine the page of a client’s spouse without having direct access to it in the hopes of finding something they might be able to use against them. But with this order, and possibly others, things may be changing. In order to ensure the two spouses did not slander each other, the judge stipulated that neither would pose as the other while accessing the accounts.

As this case clearly shows, it’s important to utilize social networking sites carefully when going through a divorce. Often, statements a person makes online could be used as evidence against him or her in divorce proceedings.

Source: TIME, “Judge Orders Divorced Couple to Swap Facebook Passwords,” Melissa Locker, Nov. 14, 2011

Tags: Facebook, divorce, family law

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