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Can your Facebook account affect child custody?

Facebook has become a fixture in the lives of many Bronxville residents. Posting pictures and updating statuses has become a normal part of many people’s lives. In recent years, it has also become a tool in contentious child custody battles as parents vie for custody.

As early as 2010, family law lawyers understood how Facebook could be used to gather evidence regarding parent’s finances and lifestyles. A survey done that year by the American Association of Matrimony Lawyers revealed that as much as two-thirds of attorneys primarily scoured the other parent’s Facebook pages for evidence to present to the court. However, that is not the only electronic evidence that is supported by the current rules of evidence — texts, emails and computer data, along with cell phone records have all become commonplace forms of evidence in family court.

So what can you do to keep this type of information from falling into the other parent’s hands? First, do not believe that deleted information is irretrievable. Computer forensic experts have retrieved data that people believed was gone. For instance, if you posted about a new car or a vacation before the court battle began, but deleted it prior to telling the court that you had money problems, you could be in trouble. Your Facebook friends could still have the information on their pages or it might be discovered another way.

Many family law attorneys here in Bronxville and elsewhere recommend to their clients that they take a vacation from Facebook and other social media sites during divorce and child custody proceedings. You could also ask your friends not to post anything about you during this time as well. It should also be noted that if unflattering information is deleted and then retrieved, the courts might not be forgiving. If you have concerns that there is electronic information out there that could cause you issues, bring it to the attention of your attorney as quickly as possible.

Source: FindLaw, “Facebook Divorce“, Accessed on Nov. 21, 2016