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Beware of online activity during a divorce

Most Las Vegas readers will send off a text message or an email without thinking twice about it. These quick forms of communication don’t take a lot of forethought or effort to dispatch, and as a result most people would admit that they’ve sent something they wish they hadn’t.

For the most part, these types of regrets vanish into cyberspace and rarely come back to haunt you in a meaningful way. However, Las Vegas readers should be aware that text messages, emails, and other electronic communications are increasingly becoming a part of evidence in divorce cases.

This is much more common than most people realize. In fact, a professional association of matrimonial lawyers recently released data showing that evidence from social media sites is introduced in 81 percent of cases. One example would be using an inappropriate photo from Facebook to cast doubts on the other spouse’s parenting rights during a custody proceeding.

Many people make the mistake of thinking that if they are not friends with their soon-to-be-ex on Facebook and they have strict privacy settings, that the information there will not affect them in court. In reality, sharing with even one person can be enough of an exposure, since they can be compelled to come into court and testify about the interaction.

The bottom line is that even if it is tempting to let off a little steam when a marriage ends, it is important to remember the possible long term consequences when those actions are preserved in an electronic record.

Source: Washington Times, “Email, texting can become a WMD during a divorce or custody case,” Myra Fleischer, April 23, 2013.

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