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Stay off of social media in a custody dispute

You feel comfortable putting a lot of personal information on social media. Your name. Your age. Pictures from your latest vacation. Information about where you work and where you went to school.

There was a time when people liked the internet because it was anonymous. That's changed. These days, everything seems to find its way online. And, in many cases, you can't delete it or take it back.

If you're involved in a divorce and a child custody case, though, that's where you need to draw the line. Keep that process off of social media.

Hurting your position

The problem is that anything said in the heat of the moment could come back to hurt your position. And it's not just insults and online arguments that you have to watch out for. Even things that feel innocent may play a role in the case. Here are a few questions to ask:

  • Are those angry comments to your ex going to make it look like you just want sole custody out of spite?
  • Are those pictures of you traveling for work going to make it seem like you're not going to be around enough to take care of the kids?
  • Do pictures of your children spending time alone show that you are not a very involved parent?
  • Do the things that you post suggest you're involved in dangerous and possibly illegal activities -- like drug use -- that may make you appear unfit to be a parent?

You have to be very careful with how things are going to make you look. Image is important. If social media does not paint the picture you want, you may be best to avoid it.

Cut the cord entirely

Is it time to just shut down your accounts? Some experts do suggest doing so. They say to step away from social media. Take a break until the divorce is over, then slowly work it back into your life.

The argument is basically this: You can't make any unintentional mistakes if you simply do not go online at all. Remember, even a careful approach to social media doesn't mean that it won't find its way into the case. It doesn't mean that something said in passing won't come back to haunt you. Taking a break ensures that you can sort out the legalities of the situation by looking at only the facts, without any outside influences.

Your options

You have to decide what is right for you. But the key is simply to think about your rights, the legal options you have and what steps you can take to protect your relationship with your children as you go through this divorce.

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Linda M. DiPasquale, Attorney at Law

Linda M. DiPasquale, Attorney at Law
1 Niagara Square
Buffalo, NY 14202

Phone: 716-800-2591
Fax: 716-854-0059
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