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New ruling may affect child custody determinations

An interesting family law case has just been decided, which involved a couple that was engaged in a contentious divorce case. The couple was litigating the issue of child custody in court. Maryland residents know that child custody battles can be highly emotional and draining to all parties involved. Sometimes, parents let their emotions get the best of them and say things they may later regret. Now, with the advent of social media, those comments that are made to each other may be recorded forever. They may also be accessible to hundreds, thousands, or even millions of other individuals.

Recently, an appellate ruling was issued in a case that involved the issue of whether the judge determining the child custody matter could prohibit the husband from making certain comments to his wife through the social media website Facebook. The judge barred the husband from engaging in any communication with his wife on the Facebook website. The husband fought the ruling, claiming that the judge was violating his freedom of speech rights under the First Amendment of the United States constitution. The husband lost, and the ruling was upheld.

Family law judges have always enjoyed a great deal of latitude when considering parental behavior, and have been able to prohibit parents from engaging in any behavior that could be detrimental to the children during and after divorce proceedings. The "best interests of the child" has always been, and continues to be, the standard and primary concern of all judges who are confronted with issues of child custody and visitation rights.

It is important that any parent who is confronting a divorce be well informed of their rights relating to the issues of child custody, visitation and child support. Many times, bad parental behavior can have a long lasting impact on future child custody determinations.Move up http://i.forbesimg.com tMove down

Source: Daily Report, "Panel: Facebook off-limits in divorce," Lawrence Viele Davidson, April 4, 2013

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