Internet Fantasy Lives: What Texting & Sexting Means in the Electronic Age of No-Fault Divorce
No-Fault does not mean that there are no longer adultery grounds in New York State. The adultery ground is alive and well but it is rarely used. Sexting, internet contact and dating sites, are all used most prevalently in custody battles.
The custody battle: The Court will determine whether or not your children are exposed to any inappropriate behavior or materials. First you must ask yourself; “Am I acting in an adult manner that is inappropriate for any minor to view?” If the answer is yes, you have a duty to make sure that inappropriate communication does not ever come within the pervue of a child, specifically your child and especially if you are in a custody battle. Furthermore, if your spouse is acting inappropriately via sexting, texting, or emailing, you must be sure that they are acting responsibly to keep their actions and activities away from children.
In any case, in addition to the inappropriate material that shouldn’t be viewed by the children, the behaviors themselves take time, energy and money away from the children. If a person is sexting, engaging in on-line behavior or meeting up with people in lurid or sordid affairs, this is often to the great determent of the children even though they may not be exposed to it. The person that has the on-line or alternative lifestyle or fetishes could be taking money and time away from parenting. In that case the other parent will certainly be the best possible choice for being a full time custodian.
The Courts are split on the issue of whether or not someone’s life or internet fantasies could lead that person to be an inappropriate full time care-giver. However, what is clear is that if the children are ever given access or exposed to any internet sexual life; sexting or internet/computer fantasies, the person that is responsible for the exposure to the children is not fit to be the custodial parent. This is quite clear and common sense. The Court remains split in the more grey area where the person engaging in internet fantasy life does so in small increments of time, far away from the children, and shield the children one hundred percent from this internet fantasy life. In these limited circumstances, a person whose internet fantasy life is then exposed in court could still possibly be a proper custodial parent.
One unique case: Our firm represented a woman who had a double life on the internet. She was also an excellent mother and her children were none the wiser. We prevailed.
In summary, children should never be exposed to questionable material. Parents who are engaged in questionable on-line behaviors whether it is sexting, texting, emails forms, or websites have a duty to protect the children from that. If that parent is taking time, energy and money away from parenting, they could lose the ability to be the primary care-giver. Furthermore, through expert testimony that parent could be shown to have a lack of judgment, or can be shown to have poor judgment tantamount to acting against the best interest of the children and calling their ability to be a decision maker into question.
At the law firm of Bryan L. Salamone & Associates, PC, we are well versed on all of the current trends on divorce and custody and we care for our clients. We offer free consultations on selected cases.