Monthly Archives: August 2015

Social media and child custody issues

Courts in custody cases give priority to the best interests of the childĀ and finding out which parent is the primary caretaker is important for judges to decide custody issues. Judges must weigh a variety of factors when trying to figure out what is best for a child after a divorce, including the relationship the child has with both parents.

The recent ruling, issued in the Westchester County Supreme Court in New York, allowed the use of a woman’s Facebook profile as evidence by her ex-husband to show that the woman was not the primary caretaker of their small child. The profile, which included photos of the woman taking a variety of vacations, even as far away as Italy, was submitted by the lawyer representing her ex-husband, who wanted to show the court that he was the actual primary caretaker. The woman had not expected the profile to be allowed as evidenceĀ since it had never before happened in New York, but the judge in the case ruled that the information in the profile was necessary to decide which parent the child spent more time with.

The recent ruling sets a precedent in New York, though most states still do not allow social media to be used as evidence. A family law attorney might explain to a parent who is seeking a modification of an existing custody order the types of evidence that courts will accept.

Dealing with the impact of disability on divorce-related support

In the case of a high-asset divorce, there may be sufficient assets to offset the loss of income attributed to a disabling condition. However, an insurance policy could help in satisfying that obligation for those who otherwise would not be able to continue making support payments. In many cases, life changes can result in non-payment, which can lead to both legal and financial problems. Carrying a disability policy can guard against this problem. Those who have limited resources may be able to obtain such coverage at an affordable price. In high-asset situations, a larger policy could require underwriting.

In addition to an insurance policy, a disabled individual’s children may be able to receive benefits under that parent’s Social Security earnings record. An ex-spouse might also qualify for spousal benefits while caring for the minor child of that other parent. The length of the marriage may play a role in access to these benefits.

The option of carrying disability insurance to cover unpaid support might not be known to an individual who is going through a divorce. However, an attorney may provide information about the benefits of this while discussing child support and alimony options.