Facebook is playing an increasingly important role in divorce. The social networking site, which connects old friends and allows users to make new ones online, has been blamed by some for an increase in the number of marital breakups. Some claim the explosion in the popularity of websites such as Facebook is tempting people to stray from their marriages. In one review, Facebook was identified as a cause of the breakup in 2 out of 5 divorce petitions.
Facebook and other social networking websites are also playing an important role in the divorce proceeding. Parties involved in a divorce sometimes post negative comments about their soon to be ex-spouse on Facebook. These negative comments and postings may be discovered by the opposing spouse and introduced as evidence in the divorce proceeding. These postings often end up portraying the posting spouse in a negative light. Negative comments about your spouse on Facebook or other publicly available spaces on the internet may hurt your divorce case.
Postings on Facebook can have a dramatic impact on custody disputes. In a custody dispute, the Judge bases the decision on what he or she believes to be in the best interest of the child or children. The perceived stability, responsibility, and family friendly lifestyle of each parent can impact the custody decision. Photographs and written postings on Facebook that portray a parent in an unflattering light may be introduced as evidence and may impact the custody decision. Parents should be careful to prevent unflattering pictures and postings from being posted on Facebook.
If you have any questions about your divorce or custody case, call Wegner Buchanan at 314-726-6464 for a free initial consultation.
Sunday, January 3, 2010
In a dissolution or paternity action, the Court will determine legal and physical custody of minor children. Legal custody of a child means having the right and the obligation to make decisions about the child's upbringing. A parent with sole legal custody can make decisions about schooling, religion, and medical care, for example. Courts often award joint legal custody, which means that the decision making is shared by both parents.
Physical custody means that a parent has the right to have a child live with him or her. Joint physical custody is common. In that situation, the child spends significant amounts of time with both parents. Joint physical custody works best if parents live near each other, as it lessens the stress on children and allows them to maintain a somewhat normal routine.
Joint physical custody is generally governed by a parenting plan, which is a child custody schedule that governs when the child will be with each parent. Parents are encouraged to work together and agree to deviate from the parenting plan when necessary. However, absent agreement by both parents, the parenting plan governs.
You should make your attorney aware of the physical custody schedule you would prefer. When thinking of a physical custody schedule, you should always keep in mind what is in the best interest of the child. For example, the child has a schedule including school and activities. The child’s schedule should play an important role in the physical custody schedule. Also, if one parent is out of town often for work, this should also be reflected in the custody schedule. Allowances should be made so that the traveling parent can spend quality time with child.
Parents know their children better than anyone else and are the most capable of doing what is in their children’s best interest. It is important that parents always remain focused on the best interests of their children.
Marital property and debt should be discussed with your attorney at the onset of your case. Your attorney should be made aware of all of your assets and debts and if possible, where these assets and debts came from. With a few exceptions, property and debt acquired or incurred during the marriage is marital and will be divided by the court in a dissolution proceeding. Likewise, with a few exceptions, property and debt acquired or incurred prior to the marriage is separate and will remain the with the spouse that incurred or acquired them. For more information on marital and separate property, see the Divorce Guide on our website.
You can help your attorney determine identify marital and separate assets and debts by providing your attorney with statements. The most up to date statement for bank accounts, 401(k)s and other retirement funds will create the best picture of your marital or separate property. Current statements from credit card companies and mortgage companies should also be provided to your attorney.
If you possess any documentation regarding your loans or assets that could help track the money used to purchase such fund assets or pay debt, you should also make your attorney aware of such documents and provide he or she with a copy. While your case is pending, you should provide your attorney with updated statements. Especially in this volatile market, keeping your attorney updated will make sure that he or she has the most accurate information.