Using the Internet and social media sites is of tremendous benefit for many Americans. Social media allows us the ability to keep in contact with distant friends and share some of our more intimate personal experiences with others. Unfortunately, social media can be a knife that cuts both ways. Internet sites like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube can offer another tool that domestic abusers can use to gain access to their victims.
Frequent readers of our online blog may recall a previous article where we discussed Arizona’s strict views regarding domestic violence. In that article, we talked about how the state legislature intentionally left certain actions that constitute domestic violence open to interpretation. That’s because Arizona defines domestic abuse as having occurred when one family member causes another member to be in some reasonable apprehension or fear of harm. Courts have broad discretion when considering these incidents. Online stalking is one example of a situation that can sometimes be hard to determine under those requirements.
For example, a comment posted in response to a picture posted on Facebook may be interpreted differently than intended. Another example might be a retweet of a Twitter message posted by a mutual friend. While an abuse victim might see that activity as something to fear, the person re-tweeting the comment may not have done so with any malicious intent.
You should know that online stalking can have negative consequences for your child custody case regardless of whether you live in constant fear of your abuser or you have been accused of unfounded actions. Generally, Arizona courts will always defer to the best interests of any children involved in such disputes. More importantly, a conviction for domestic abuse will likely be the most important factor the court will consider when making any child custody related decisions.
Based in Phoenix, our law firm has over 30 years of combined experience representing clients in family law matters in Phoenix and throughout Maricopa County. Prospective clients should know that our firm offers reasonable costs for confidential assessments of their cases.