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Facebook users won't 'like' this: social media can harm custody cases

One of the most emotional and contentious parts of a divorce can be arriving at a child custody arrangement.

More and more these days, Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites are mined for evidence that a parent is not fit to share custody. That appears to be the case in a visitation dispute far from us in Trenton.

The Milwaukee man at the center of the storm says his Facebook posts are being misinterpreted. Apparently the district attorney's office disagrees with the embattled dad who is asking the court to allow him visitations with his daughter though he isn't keeping current with his child support payments.

In a photo on his Facebook page, the father is seen holding cash. Next to the image is this message: "Betcha baby daddy ain't jackin like this."

Prosecutors say the image is proof that the man can pay the child support he owes.

The dad argues that the photo is being taken out of context. He says the money isn't his; he was simply having his photo taken with it.

"It could be anybody's cash," he told a newspaper. "I just took a picture with it. Just to play around or something, you know."

The mother of the man's six-year-old daughter says she knows her ex has money. She cites the photo as publicly displayed evidence that he has cash, though he isn't paying the child support he apparently owes.

The man claims to be "living in poverty," according to a district attorney's document.

Investigators say they found further evidence that the man is not as poor as he would like people to believe. They point to a photo posted to his Facebook page showing him in front of Buckingham Palace in London, England.

The man dismisses the image as nothing more than something he created with an application that allows users to paste their images next to famous landmarks.

He says he's looking for a full-time job, but wants to be able to see his daughter.

The lesson to be taken from the story: it's not a good idea to put images or words on your Facebook page that you don't want your ex, your ex's family law attorney, or a court to see.

Source: WISN, "Facebook page at center of child-support case," Dec. 10, 2012

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