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Custody battle: children's online footprint

 Posted on December 00, 0000 in Divorce

Stacy Thibodeaux, 45, of St. Peters, says she was furious when she found pictures of her children on her ex-husband’s online dating profile after their divorce. She confronted her ex, claiming that it was inappropriate to have their young children’s images on

Following her confrontation, he simply blocked her from his profile.

Thibodeaux, who has recently remarried after being divorced for five years, said she realized that she could not control what her ex-husband did with their children’s pictures. It had occurred to her, however, that it may have been helpful to establish some ground rules about their children’s digital exposure as part of their custody agreement.

Managing a child’s online footprint is becoming part of many conversations during divorce and after custody settlements as social networks become a universal way to share information.

The president of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers Alton Abramowitz said, "Social media has become a very big issue in all aspects of divorce." His firm recommends to clients that they shut down their social media profiles as soon as they begin considering divorce. Parents that post questionable pictures that may affect the children later might find that those same pictures and statuses will be used against them in court. He added that it speaks to poor parental judgment.

A case in the St. Louis area involved an ex-wife who wanted to disallow her ex-husband from sharing any information about their children on social networks. The ex-husband’s attorney said that, with the exception of certain circumstances, he would argue against such a blanket rule.

Stephanie Williams, clinical director with Kids in the Middle, a nonprofit education and support group in St. Louis for families going through divorce, said that there is certainly room for compromise. Williams suggested that parents consider parameters, like different privacy settings to control who can see certain types of information. They should also work toward an agreement on the content that they share online and what should be completely off-limits.

Meredith Friedman, of Creve Coeur, and her husband took this approach during their separation five years ago. Her children were 7 and 8 at the time, and their father had concerns about their online privacy.

He convinced her that it was more of a security issue, she said that they decided together not to put their kids on Facebook. Now that the children are older, they include some family pictures on their profiles.

There are many new issues arising with divorce. If you are going through a separation or divorce, contact an experienced divorce attorney today. Illinois attorneys at Angel Traub and Associates law firm can help you cover everything in your divorce.

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