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Divorce wars: Facebook increasingly playing a part

Modern technology in the form of Facebook and other social media sites allows us to vent our frustrations here in Riverside, California, and across the country. We have seen athletes and others get in trouble for making seemingly spur-of-the-moment statements on Twitter, comments that they most likely wished they had thought twice about. The fact is that the manner in which we communicate with one another has changed. And that change is having an effect on divorce and child custody litigation.

Comments that might otherwise have been meant as private are preserved in the cyber world, and sometimes they can come back to haunt the person who made them. One man, apparently frustrated with his divorce and related child visitation issues, took his complaints to Facebook last November. He was already the subject of a civil protection order concerning his wife, but she was blocked from his Facebook account when he said a few disparaging things. The wife somehow found out about the postings and complained to the court. The magistrate hearing the matter ruled that the husband had violated the protection order. The punishment that followed has some raising their eyebrows.

The magistrate sentenced the Ohio man to 60 days in jail but said the husband could avoid jail by publishing an apology to his wife on his Facebook page every day for the ensuing 30 days. The man chose the apology option but not without grousing first. He wondered how a court could prohibit him from saying one thing and then force him to say something else about it in the same medium.

But the lesson appears clear for those confronting divorce in Riverside and throughout California. Comments on social media sites may be considered fair game in these and other legal proceedings, and those affected should step back and think a moment before hitting the send button.

Source: Fox4kc.com, "Divorce + Facebook = MESS," Michelle Pekarsky, Feb. 24, 2012

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