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On-line dating sites and child custody determinations

On-line dating sites have surged in popularity and are now being utilized by a wide variety of people from all walks of life. However, Maryland residents need to be aware that the personal information that is contained in the profiles posted on these websites can be used as evidence in a court of law. In fact, a survey that was recently conducted by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers found that evidence taken from these personal profiles has increased by 59% in the last three years in a myriad of divorce related matters, particularly child custody cases.

If a married individual identifies as not married in a personal profile, this can be used in court to demonstrate a lack of honesty and personal integrity. Likewise, an individual who falsely claims not to have any children can face serious ramifications when an evaluation to determine child custody or visitation rights takes place in court.

Troubles can also arise when an individual claims to earn a higher salary in a personal profile on a dating site than they claim to make when filling out their required financial information for a determination of child support. This can be particularly problematic for self-employed spouses.

According to the data collected by the AAML, the most common evidence that is used against individuals in court is inaccurate information regarding their relationship status. This type of evidence was used 57% of the time by those that were surveyed, followed by use of information relating to salary and occupation at 15%, and use of inaccurate information regarding whether or not an individual had children 7% of the time.

Child custody determinations can be complex and emotionally charged. It is important to have as much information as possible when faced with these issues. Ultimately, the most important determination that will be made is what is in the child's best interest. An experienced family law attorney can ensure that the best outcome is obtained in these difficult cases.

Source: heraldonline.com, "Dating Websites Providing More Divorce Evidence Says Survey," Feb. 11, 2013

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