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Celebrity divorces good for publicity, but not for children

In our last post we discussed the negative influence Facebook and other social media websites can have on marriage. Although it's true that an increasing number of divorces list Facebook as the source of marital problems, social media can also play a negative role in the process of divorce itself.

Celebrity divorces are especially public affairs, not only because of Hollywood gossip websites and TV shows, but because the stars themselves tend to want to spill their hearts to their fans. But this may not always be in the best interests of their children, who too often end up as pawns in child custody and support battles.

One of the latest celebrity divorce sagas is the split between Dallas native and pop singer Usher and his ex-wife, Tameka Foster. They're currently fighting over custody of their two sons in court and online. Not unlike the bitter proceedings of regular couples, the singer and his ex have been hurling allegations back and forth in hopes of tarnishing each other's parenting reputation. Did Usher have an affair with his Tameka's bridesmaid? Is Tameka neglecting to include Usher in crucial parenting decisions? These accusations may sway the judge one way or the other, but broadcasting them across television and social media isn't necessarily good for their sons. Even at the boys' preschool age, children can sense the tension and anger that fuels these public rants.

It's also worth remembering that badmouthing your ex via Facebook and Twitter is a good way to lose favor with a child custody judge. Much like the Miranda warning says, anything you do or say can and will be used against you by your former spouse's attorney.

If you need to blow off some steam to friends, there's another way to do it besides ranting online in all caps. Try getting together for a cup of coffee, away from the computer and your children. It works just as well, and you'll get instant comments.

Source: ABC News, "Usher Asked About Sleeping With Ex's Bridesmaid During Child Custody Battle," May 23, 2012

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