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Online data: often a treasure trove of divorce-related info

When it comes to questionable or flatly ill-advised conduct that is potentially viewable to a vast audience via the realities of the Internet, "you can't bury it," states John Slowiaczek.

Slowiaczek likely knows a great deal about that, being the incoming president of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers.

Here's the deal: Many divorcing individuals begin their engagement with the divorce process with an online background marked by a virtual spilling of arguably sensitive and private information onto myriad social and other platforms. Yes, their friends can see it, but so, too, can many millions of others who take some time to dig.

And, notes a recent New York Times article, "digital behavior" is something that many divorce attorneys are increasingly mining for its relevance to key family law matters during divorce.

Like child support and spousal maintenance, for example. Imagine a court's response to a divorcing party and parent who is vigorously claiming poverty, yet is found to have considerable hidden assets that are discovered in online accounts that were clearly intended to evade the scrutiny of an impending ex. Imagine the judicial evaluation of a request for sole child custody from a parent who has uploaded reams of sex- and drug-related photos on Facebook.

It is just a fact that many of us have blurred the line between public and private data and behavior over years of Internet use. Often, the result is a wide universe of personal tidbits we might reasonably regard as confidential upon true reflection being prominently spotlighted, instead, on online sites across the web.

That can have clear -- and starkly adverse -- implications in a divorce matter in Massachusetts or elsewhere, especially in a case where high-level property division concerns feature.

Online presence is something that many people unquestionably do need to be thinking about during divorce. A proven divorce attorney will ensure that they do.

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