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Going through a Divorce? Watch Your Social Media Habits

Most people know that typing, sharing, tweeting, and Facebooking can get you in trouble if you are not careful. But for some individuals, 140 characters can cause 140 problems with their divorce, separation, or custody battle.

For instance, back in 2012, Mark Byron nearly ended up in jail after a short comment on his own Facebook page got back to his soon-to-be ex-wife. Byron’s comment, which allegedly claimed that if a woman wanted to gain custody of shared children or make trouble, she could simply claim to be afraid of her ex, was posted on Byron’s own Facebook page, from which Byron had “blocked” his ex-wife. But she allegedly gained access to the post through the use of a friend’s Facebook account, and brought a printout of the statement to court.

It is safe to say that the judge did not hit the “like” button on Byron’s post. After reportedly considering the post a violation of his orders, the magistrate judge ordered Byron to either post a series of apology messages on his Facebook page or to spend 60 days in jail. For reasons unknown, the judge did not lock Byron up even though Byron allegedly did not fully comply with the judge’s unorthodox punishment.

The story of Byron’s social media faux pas captured the public and led to numerous interviews and substantial media coverage discussing custody rights. But for Byron, the most important priority was winning his fight for custody of his son.

Byron’s story is a reminder that even something that seems as innocuous as a texted update to friends can add some wrinkles to the divorce or separation process, get an overeager poster in trouble with the court, and even negatively affect a person’s position in a custody battle.

To avoid finding yourself in Byron’s shoes, follow these guidelines:

  • Resist the urge to post publicly or even just to friends regarding your divorce or separation. Even a well-intended statement could appear inappropriate to a court, and there are quieter ways to seek counsel and comfort from others as you endure a divorce, separation, or custody battle.
  • If a temporary or permanent separation or protective order is in force, be sure that you know the terms. Avoid actions that “toe the line” between permissible and unacceptable. Never give your ex or anyone else a reason to believe you are noncompliant with the court’s orders (both to avoid the risk of giving up custody rights and to avoid potential sanctions or even contempt charges).
  • Protect your personal information, restrict access to information that could negatively affect your standing with the court, and generally keep the details of your divorce or separation process to yourself.

When you are seeking custody, every detail counts. Be sure that you have a strong advocate on your side. At Schwartz | White, our experienced and qualified Boca Raton family law attorneys are ready to fight for your rights and interests in the family law courtroom. Call 561-391-9943 to speak to an experienced family lawyer about your case today.

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