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Viral internet picture shares an important family law lesson

It has been said that a picture is worth a thousand words. There are times when a single image so perfectly captures an idea that it just has to be shared. Perhaps this is why sites like Instagram have become so popular.

One such picture first showed up on Instagram but soon went viral, eventually finding its way onto the Huffington Post. It shows a small, white dog meekly sitting in a desk chair with an open laptop on the desk in front of him. The photo caption reads: “I told her I was a pit bull.” The joke has to do with the way that people get into trouble when they misrepresent themselves in dating site profiles. Interestingly, this humorous little picture also has family law implications.

We recently wrote that dating during divorce can be dicey, particularly if you are also in the midst of a child custody dispute. It is important to demonstrate that you are fair, reasonable and responsible. Dating before your divorce has been finalized may give the impression that you don’t respect your soon-to-be ex-spouse.

Online dating can be especially problematic because any information you put on the web may be discovered by your spouse’s attorney and used as evidence against you. Needless to say, lying about yourself online can seriously undermine your credibility.

Say, for instance, that your dating site profile says that you are single and have no kids. At first, this may seem like the best way to attract dates. But these lies could backfire in at least two ways. First of all, anyone who does eventually go out with you will quickly discover that you misrepresented yourself in your profile.

More importantly, however, your spouse may use this information against you to try and show that you are untrustworthy and/or that you are not a proud and responsible parent. This could seriously jeopardize your divorce settlement and child custody case.

In order to be safe and avoid giving your spouse evidence to use against you, it’s a good idea to hold off on dating until after the divorce. At the very least, make sure that whatever you post online is truthful and tasteful. In other words, don’t be the little white lap dog trying to pass himself off as a pit bull.

Source: The Huffington Post, "This Cute Little Pup's Online Dating Profile Is Lies, Lies, Lies," April 4, 2014

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