I have blogged before about the terrific resource social media is for divorce lawyers. Today, sitting in a courtroom waiting for my case to be called I saw a case that, ironically, highlighted this very importance. Two pro se litigants (lawyer speak for folks in a court case without lawyers) were battling over whether a dad’s child support should continue for an 18 year old daughter. Mom was arguing that the child was living at home and working on her GED degree; however, Dad had been trolling the Internet and had found Facebook and MySpace pages, as well as some other materials where the daughter was telling folks she was working as a “model and an exotic dancer.” He even had pictures of her dancing on a pole (the Judge declined to review the pole picture, wise man), and her posts from those sites where she stated that she was earning $40,000 a year. Dad had also found on craigslist that she was looking for an apartment out of state.
Massachusetts does have a provision for support for “dependent” children in the guidelines, but my bet is the Judge treated this young women as emancipated. In fact, as I listened I wasn’t sure if the young woman wasn’t just fantasizing (had her mother had a lawyer, much of that internet info may not have made it to the Judge, as it is hearsay unless the child was there to testify), but the shock-effect of the internet story can not be ignored. The Judge didn’t decide while I was in the courtroom but I am pretty sure the child support is over.