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Social media spews rumors in high asset divorce cases

When any couple endures a less-than-ideal spot in their marriage, rumors can start to swirl about the status of their union. High-asset or high-profile couples in particular can find themselves fending-off unwanted conjecture regarding their marital status. While celebrities have dealt with this issue for years, thanks to social media, non-famous people in a high asset divorce can also encounter a damaging rumor mill. The extent of that damage, however, can depend on each spouses' own online behavior.

In general, high asset divorces have more eyes on them, so to speak, than other types of divorces. More money is at stake, and the spouses can hail from prominent local social circles. In Texas, with its multiple big cities and entrepreneurial families, the chances of a high-profile couple making divorce-related headlines are high. The problem with being observed, however, is how to handle it: should spouses refute rumors themselves, acknowledge any that are true, or just ignore them?

Even country music stars are not immune to the online rumor mill. Married singers Blake Shelton and Miranda Lambert, recent targets of questioning regarding their relationship, have used Twitter to poke fun at the gossip. Rock star Ozzy Osbourne also used the internet to deny that he and his wife were divorcing.

When high-profile couples actually are divorcing, however, navigating the truths and falsehoods can be tricky. If a divorce becomes contentious or goes to trial, nasty remarks made online can come back to haunt a spouse. Moreover, spending time refuting every rumor or piece of gossip can become distracting, taking time away from more important concerns.

In a high asset divorce, those important concerns can range from complex asset valuation to forensic accounting used to uncover hidden funds. In addition, no matter how high a couple's income, they still have to come to agreements on child custody and visitation. While gossip can sometimes help illuminate these topics, they must ultimately be decided using sound legal advice rather than various sources of speculation.

Source: The Washington Post, "Stars battle rumors on social media - but is it bad PR?" Roxanne Roberts and Amy Argetsinger, April 17, 2013

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Attorney Christine K. Lincoln

Christine K. Lincoln offers sound counsel and legal services to protect clients and their families facing divorce and other family disputes.

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