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Social media impacting divorce, other family law issues

The digital age continues to have an impact on family law issues, particularly divorce and child custody. Advances in technology lead some divorcing spouses to become techno-sleuths who use smartphones and other gadgets to spy on their soon-to-be exes. However, before Plano residents participate in such sleuthing, they should understand that high-tech spying doesn't always support the best outcome. Likewise, if you're going through a divorce, you may want to curb your use of social media for the time being.

Social media and various surveillance gadgets can make it easy for one spouse to track the movements and communications of the other. In many cases, spouses know each other's passwords for email and social media sites, and some couples can track each other using the GPS in their smartphones. While this form of snooping may seem innocuous, the reality is that spying can be illegal, depending on the circumstances.

Some divorce attorneys recommend that clients stop using social media until the divorce is finalized or other family law matters are settled.  Also, parents should know that a judge is not likely to look favorably on a father or mother whose social media activity suggests an irresponsible lifestyle that doesn’t support the best interests of the child.

There is an upside to the use of technology when it comes to family law. Parents who are going through child custody negotiations can use video chats and email to demonstrate their desire to stay in touch with children, and technology can help noncustodial parents keep in regular contact with their kids.

However, any divorcing spouse who plans to use social media or some other sleuthing gadgetry should speak with an attorney first. In some cases, individuals may find that their planned activities are illegal or that the evidence can't be used in court.

Source: CultureMap Dallas, "Social media isn't always your 'friend' during break-ups," Amy Hunt, June 9, 2014

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