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Jennifer McCaskill
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Could Facebook become a focus in calculating alimony?

When it comes to matters of spousal support, New Jersey spouses should know that there is very little that is set in stone. Family law courts have the ability to create an alimony structure that serves the ends of each couple, as the court sees fit. That means that spouses should pay close attention to their actions as they near a divorce, including their online activities. Family law attorneys are now turning to Facebook and other social media sites for information and evidence that can be used in negotiating for property division, child custody and alimony.

Social media, and Facebook in particular, is a factor in many divorces due to the ease of making connections with people from one's past. A few innocent "likes" and messages can quickly turn into an emotional affair, which can then quickly turn into a physical affair. And that often turns into a divorce. 

Once a spouse contacts a divorce attorney, one of the first steps is to go through all social media with a fine tooth comb and harvest anything that can be used to build the case. That includes photos, posts, messages and location data. Even things that others post or link to can be used to build a case. 

The best way to avoid having Facebook become a central focus in one's New Jersey divorce is to avoid social media activity to the greatest extent possible. Otherwise, social media content can be used to argue for more alimony, a greater share of marital wealth, and even reduced parenting time or custody rights. No status update is worth those outcomes. 

Source: Time, "Divorce Lawyer: Facebook Is a Cheating Machine", James Sexton, March 26, 2018

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