New Jersey child custody: Social media can help or even harm | Lane & Lane, LLC
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New Jersey child custody: Social media can help or even harm

Recent headlines have covered the effects that social media can have on divorce. However, new evidence shows that these tools are also being put to use by parents who are dealing with issues of child custody. New Jersey parents and those around the country who use texting, email or even social media sites to communicate with the ex-spouse about custody may find these tools invaluable, but when they are misused the result can be harmful to their children.

The study suggests that couples who are going through bitter divorces may have used technology as a way to either withhold information about their children or limit the other parent's access to them. An example from the study shows that some people will deny receiving emails from the other parent. While technology can make people's lives easier, if these tools are not used in the manner in which they are intended it can harm the relationship between parent and child.

When used correctly, technology makes co-parenting easier for all involved. Child custody exchanges can be set up with ease, and online calendars can be used to communicate important dates and upcoming activities the children may be involved in. Such technology can also be a great tool for parents who may still be bitter about their separation. Communicating via text or email allows parents to convey the necessary information without having to have a face-to-face encounter. It also allows the possibility to edit what is said to the other parent, a benefit that cannot be utilized in person, and provides an electronic record of the communication if it is ever needed in the future.

New Jersey parents who make proper use of technology to communicate about child custody matters likely realize the potential benefits. This is especially true for parents who do not enjoy an amicable relationship. Such tools could also potentially help parents in the event they decide to later pursue a child custody modification order through the courts, so holding on to those written records can prove invaluable later. Used correctly, social media can be a great tool for both parents to successfully track a child's schedule and coordinate with the other parent about visitation, which can help maintain a sense of stability for the child as they adjust to the realities of their new family structure.

Source: NY Daily News, "Social media often used as cruel tool in divorce, with spouses putting children in the firing line," Aug. 29, 2012

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