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Custody dispute permits parent's Facebook postings as evidence

New Jersey parents may have learned that a judge has ruled that a man may use information from his ex-wife's Facebook account in their custody battle. The case set a legal precedent because social media is normally not permitted in court cases.

Because of this and the fact that she had unfriended her husband, the man's wife did not think her posts to Facebook could be used as evidence. The man used evidence from her Facebook account showing that she vacationed in places such as Boston and Milan to support his claim that he had been the primary caregiver for their four-year-old son.

Minnesota has allowed social media to be used in court cases in a limited manner, but some experts believe that it will become increasingly common as judges grow more aware of the potential relevance of the information it can provide. While the Facebook account of the mother in this case was private, the court ordered her to provide her Facebook login by September 14.

Whether or not they plan to try to use social media as evidence, individuals who are involved in disputes over child custody, visitation or support may decide to consult a lawyer. Even if they are involved in an amicable divorce, it can be helpful to have legal advice and to make a legal agreement with a former spouse. This gives added protection if the agreement needs to be modified or if the other spouse does not meet the terms of the agreement. An attorney may also assist in mediation. If the divorce is more contentious, an attorney may be helpful during litigation. Individuals who do wish to use social media in a custody case may want to discuss the likelihood that it will be allowed with their attorney.

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