When going through a divorce, social media might seem like a person's best friend. Social media can be used as a way to re-connect with friends that you didn't talk to during your marriage a way to prove to nosy people that you are doing just fine, or just as an outlet to talk to the world.
While these uses can help you get through your divorce, they could come back to bite you in court. Family law attorneys are frequently using social media evidence as proof in divorce, child custody, support, and domestic violence cases. Posts found on your social media accounts can be used as proof of your state of mind, proof of communication and time spent with particular people, proof of spending income, evidence of time and place of certain actions, and various other things. While you might think these posts are harmless, even the most simple post can go a long way to dismantling your legal arguments.
For one example, in order to request more time to look for a job before altering a spousal support arrangement, you might tell the court that you have been extremely depressed since your spouse filed for divorce and you recently hurt your back while taking care of your children. However, if you posted a picture on social media two days ago of you smiling with friends at a volunteer event with a heavy box in your hands, this post could be used to show that you are happy and able to work.
While you might be able to explain away your social media posts, it might be best to not put yourself in these positions in the first place. Be careful what you are posting on social media when you are going through a divorce and consider deactivating your accounts until everything is finalized. It might seem extreme, but your social media posts provide clues into what you are doing with your life and how you are spending your time, and those little clues could be enough to put you in some real hot water.
October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, so we thought we would shed some light on the legal effects that Domestic Violence can have on child custody orders. Domestic Violence can have long-term emotional and developmental effects on children beyond a custody order, but a finding of domestic violence can have large effects on child custody arrangements.
In California, the preferred child custody arrangement is joint custody to both parents. (Cal Fam Code §3040.) However, when the court finds that one parent has perpetrated domestic violence against the other during the past five years, this creates what is called a “rebuttable presumption” that it is not in the child’s best interests for the perpetrator to have sole or joint custody. (Cal Fam Code §3044.) This means that in order to receive sole or joint custody, the abusive parent has a burden to show that it would be in the best interest of the child. Basically, a finding of domestic violence makes it more difficult for a perpetrator to have custody of their child.
It is important to keep in mind that custody arrangements can change overtime, as the courts still generally favor joint custody. So, if the perpetrator shows demonstrable improvement in their behavior, they may be able to “rebut” the presumption and regain custody. But, it can be comforting to know that at least in the initial stages, California courts recognize the harmful effects of domestic violence on children.
NEW STUDY SUGGESTS OVERNIGHT VISITATION FOR FATHERS WITH INFANTS AND TODDLERS IS BENEFICIAL FOR CHILD’S RELATIONSHIPS WITH BOTH PARENTS.
Common wisdom would have you believe that infants and toddlers should spend nights with their mothers, but a new study shows that might just be an old wives’ tale. While studies generally show breastfeeding to be beneficial to a child’s long-term health, a new article published in Psychology, Public Policy and Law implies that bonding with both parents is even more important than breastfeeding.
The study shows that frequent overnight visits with Dad is beneficial for the child’s relationship with Dad, but in a twist, is also beneficial for the child’s relationship with Mom. You would think that an infant spending a night away from Mom would be detrimental, but it actually has a positive effect when that night is spent with Dad. So, when considering co-parenting plans for young children, it could be wise to include overnight visitation with both parents, as it will benefit your children in the long run.
In particular, this information can provide a useful tool for dads going through a divorce with young children. Since studies are available to show that the benefits of overnight visits for young children outweigh the positive effects of breastfeeding, courts might be more inclined to grant frequent overnight visitation for infants. More importantly, such an order would likely be in the best interests of the children and their relationships with both parents.
Atlas Fire and Other Natural Disasters can have massive effects on children and family structure
During a natural disaster, the first thing people often think about is how to rebuild their lives from the devastation nature brought to their door. One thing that is often overlooked is the effect that natural disasters can have on families and children. In the aftermath of natural disasters, normal family routines change. Families lose income, homes, and other valuable assets. Parents need to find new jobs, and non-working parents are often forced to return to work. Families move to new cities and children are sometimes sent to live with relatives.
These changes to a family’s daily structure, coupled with the trauma and loss that individuals go through in the wake of a natural disaster, create an environment that can have extreme long-term effects on families. These effects include parental disorganization, increased drug and alcohol consumption, increased conflict or violent behavior between family members, relocation, and decreased physical and emotional availability of parents. This can often lead to divorce and other changes in family structures that would not have been contemplated before the disaster.
In order to help best avoid these long-term effects, it is important for parents to work on coping with their stress and improve their communication skills. Some techniques include having family meetings, accepting the opinions and feelings of all family members, making sure everyone feels understood, and learning stress signals.
While there are likely more pressing needs to focus on in the immediate aftermath of a natural disaster, it is important to keep in mind the health of your family and do your best to create a sense of “normal” moving forward.
For more information about how you can help your family or another family reduce these effects, check out the full PowerPoint presentation by New Mexico State University’s Diana DelCampo, Ph.D.:
Maria E. Crabtree, CFLS