Facebook page ruled admissible in child custody case

Texas parents may have heard that a New York judge has allowed a Facebook profile to be entered into evidence in a child custody case. Those who have followed the case believe that it may set a new precedent. The case involves a man who disputes his ex-wife's assertion that she is the main caregiver to their 4-year-old child.

He claims that the ex-wife's Facebook profile shows her vacationing in Boston and Milan instead of spending time with or providing care for the boy. According to the man's attorney, the child's mother was not expecting the Facebook page to be entered into evidence because social media profiles had not been admissible in the past. Furthermore, the woman had made her profile page private and had unfriended the man.

In making his ruling, the judge said that the information contained in that profile may be material to the case. In the future, more cases may be decided in part by what is posted on Facebook and other social media accounts as their use and the information they contain are better understood. Before making the ruling, only Minnesota courts allowed social media accounts to be used as evidence in a child custody case, and that only applied to certain cases.

A parent who is in a child custody dispute may want to discuss the situation with a family law attorney as soon as possible. Legal counsel may be able to help a parent establish that he or she has been the primary caregiver for a child or can otherwise enrich the child's life. As many judges believe that having both parents in a child's life is in his or her best interest, visitation may in some cases be granted even if a parent has made mistakes in the past.

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