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MYSPACE POSTINGS CAUSE YOUNG MOM TO LOSE CUSTODY OF YOUNG SON AND DAUGHTER

I think I have seen it written that Internet social networking is a factor in a third of divorces. As a practitioner, I am constantly amazed at the evidence that emerges in family law cases from social networking. I have seen married couples join dating web sites and publish that they are single. I have seen texting of suggestive and nude photographs, and I have seen the posting of photos on networking sites that are totally incriminating.

A good example of the dangers of being indiscrete on the Internet is found in the recent decision of Brown v. Christopher, No. 2009–CA–00310–COA (Decided March 9, 2010). Caelan, five years old, and Brendon, four, were born out of wedlock to Lori and Christopher. Christopher admitted paternity and paid support. The parties agreed upon visitation. Five years after the birth of her daughter, Lori filed an action to declare her custody and grant her support. Christopher counterclaimed. At trial, Lori lost custody to Christopher. Perhaps the major factor in the decision was Lori’s “bad judgment” in “posting photographs on her MySpace page of herself with different men, of herself at different events where she was surrounded by individuals who were intoxicated....”

I had a boss once that told me, “Never write anything anywhere that you are not comfortable having published on the front page of the newspaper.” Well, the “newspaper” is now the Internet and it doesn’t just reach subscribers; it reaches the world.