Social media is changing child custody disputes, child-support payments, & divorce

I am in the midst of writing three loosely connected blog entries regarding marriage and the family. The first piece looked at marriage through the creation of man and woman and God-ordained society. That piece also contained news of the UK's new legislation allowing gay marriage. While the ink was still drying, a gay couple sued the Church for refusing to perform their gay wedding even though the legislation promised that churches would not be forced to perform them. So they are making an end run around that and going to court.

The third piece looks at celibacy.

This piece looks at an interesting news article I read in the Providence Journal. We have all read of the ridiculous youths and graduates and young adults losing jobs or not getting jobs because in their partying enthusiasm, they posted one too many photos on their Facebook/Instagram/Twitter/Tumblr page and they were fired or disciplined or passed over for the job. But here is a more serious effect that is changing the face of families- and divorces.

The new ‘private eye’ in divorce cases
"There’s a powerful tool, and relative newcomer, at work in Family Court in Rhode Island. It’s social media, and it’s affecting child custody disputes, child-support payments and, in some cases, the distribution of marital assets. There was the father seeking custody of his 3-year-old son who posted a photo of himself standing in a field surrounded by a dozen marijuana plants. “He went down in flames. No pun intended,” lawyer William F. Holt said."

"Eighty-one percent of the nation’s top divorce attorneys reported seeing an increase in the number of cases using social networking evidence, according to a 2010 survey by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers. Facebook led the pack for online divorce evidence, with 66 percent of the lawyers naming it as the main source."

There's a Facebook meme that went around, I'm sorry I can't find it again, that was a poster which said "Thank goodness I did all my stupid stuff before the internet!"

Kevin Colvin, an intern at a bank
told his boss he had to miss work
due to family emergency.
And posted this on his FB page. (source)

There is something funny about that to us over-fifties. But there is something also kind of sad about it too. Because people today, with the internet, are not only doing stupid stuff, but they are deliberately posting photos and comments about it. No one is forcing them to go public with their stupidity. They did the stupid thing and then they broadcast the stupid thing.

What is it with people today? They are simply mental!

Apostasy is growing. This means indeed that people are stupider, more mental, and just plain moronic and crazy. No, I'm not being mean. Romans 1 chronicles the progression of behavior and thinking that captures people as they, or a society, descend deeper into sin.

When people do not honor God, they descend into futile thinking. Verse 21:

"For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened."

The word futile in the verse is from Greek, (mataioĆ³) and it means to "become vain or foolish, am perverted". And the word thinking means "to have self-based confused reasoning". And then foolish again, means "properly, without comprehension; foolish because incoherent...failing to put facts together, describes a person failing to structure information in a meaningful way, and therefore unable to reach necessary conclusions. This person is illogical because unwilling to use good reason."

A hemp field in Mongolia.
photo credit: Gregory Jordan via photopin cc
See? They can't think straight. They refuse to think straight. That is why they do stupid things like break the law to grow marijuana plants, leave their wives, sue for custody of their son, photograph themselves in the pot field, and publish it on the internet. Duh.

The one feeds the other. Selfishness leads to divorce, so does laziness, sense of entitlement, conceit, in other words, all the things that Paul said would happen in the end time.

"But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people." (2 Timothy 3:1-5)

So you have people dishonoring God, becoming foolish and perverted in their thinking, which causes them to do more stupid stuff, which indulges their lusts, which causes them to sink further into depravity and is a cycle of rapidly diminishing returns.

I did find it interesting that the article went on to say that it has been the past ten years of technology that has dramatically forced an evolution of family law in RI. KoonsFuller is a Texas Law firm which offers a brief overview of the history of family law:

Divorce is a terrible thing.
photo credit: hebedesign via photopin cc
Family Law History

Family law has undergone a tremendous amount of modification over the past century due to the quickly changing roles identified within American families, the varying definitions of the concept of “family” and the importance of each individual’s rights within the family unit.

The revolution began in earnest during World War II, when women began to enter the work force en masse. Significantly, women found an avenue that would allow them to assert themselves as separate and independent individuals, and a profound evolution of roles within the family began that continues to this day. The impact was felt from family law to real property law, through civil law and probate law, and continues to have an impact on the development of family law cases and the interpretation of those laws by the entire judicial system.

In the 1950s and 60s, the number of marriages ending in divorce increased steadily across the nation. In 1969, the Texas Legislature adopted Title 1 of the Texas Family Code, allowing “no-fault” divorce. Divorcing parties no longer had to prove improper conduct or other grounds for dissolving a marriage, and the number of divorcing couples increased even more dramatically.

Stephen Cretney's work in the book Family Law in the Twentieth Century: A History also affirms that "the law governing family relationships has changed dramatically in the past one hundred years." And anyone over the age of fifty knows that anecdotal evidence shows an increase in the disintegration of the legal family, of which marriage has always been the entry and divorce rather than death is the increasingly employed exit.

The more that people indulge their lusts the more stupid they will get. The series of verses in Romans 1 shows us this. As they say in business, economics, and politics, there is a 'law of diminishing returns'. This applies to sin, too. The end result of sin is always death. (Romans 6:23). Look how sin works by applying the principle of diminishing returns. Here, Dr Paul Johnson of Auburn University explains,

photo credit: arbyreed via photopin cc
When increasing amounts of one factor of production are employed in production along with a fixed amount of some other production factor, after some point, the resulting increases in output of product become smaller and smaller.

Dr Johnson uses an example of a small garden plot to illustrate diminishing returns.

A simple example of the workings of the law of diminishing returns comes from gardening. A particular twenty by twenty garden plot will produce a certain number of pounds of tomatoes if the gardener just puts in the recommended number of rows and plants per row, waters them appropriately and keeps the weeds pulled. If the gardener varies this approach by adding a pound of fertilizer to the topsoil, but otherwise does everything the same, he can increase the number of pounds of tomatoes the garden plot yields by quite a bit (notice the amount of land is being held fixed or constant).

If he adds two pounds of fertilizer (rather than just one), probably he can get still more tomatoes per season, but the increase in tomatoes harvested by going from one pound to two pounds of fertilizer is probably smaller than the increase he gets by going from zero pounds to one (diminishing marginal returns). Applying three pounds of fertilizer may still increase the harvest, but perhaps by only a very little bit over the yields available using just two pounds.

Applying four pounds of fertilizer turns out to be overdoing it -- the garden yields fewer tomatoes than applying only three pounds because the plants begin to suffer damage from root-burn. And five pounds of fertilizer turns out to kill nearly all the plants before they even flower..

So the sinner can sin more and more but the amount of yield he gets eventually diminishes. At the end the return on your production of sin is death, like the burned roots that simply zap the tomato plants. You're dead. Ask any recovering alcoholic about this. Ask any sober drug addict about this. Ask any child molester about this. Ask any serial killer about this. OK, maybe not a good idea to approach a serial killer, but you've read about the high that these addicted folks get in their preferred sin and how they are always seeking the bigger high, the next high. The same goes for even the "respectable sins", for example, gossips. The more they gossip the more they want, the more people look to them for the juicy tidbit, the more they seek out the juicy tidbit, the more they gossip....Hedda Hopper made a career out of gossip. The gossip journalists are always looking for the bigger story. Each one has to top the last. As with all sins, there is always the search for the ever elusive satisfaction. People are perpetual sinning machines.

Jesus spoke of the Broad Way and the Narrow Way in Matthew 7:13-14.

Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.

The broad way is the way of sin. The narrow way is the way of holiness. The Broad way is without Jesus. The narrow way is with Jesus. There are only those two ways, nothing else and nothing in between. Anyone on the broad way will stay on the broad way and not make the hop until and unless they repent and Jesus brings them over. The two paths don't run parallel to each other like the white fog lines on this road.

photo credit: gustaffo89 via photopin cc
The two paths diverge.

God is always working (John 5:17, Romans 8:28). Everything is always in motion. Thus, the believer is always being sanctified. He is always in progress toward the Father in Christ-likeness.

"But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.  (2 Peter 3:18 )

"And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit." (2 Corinthians 3:18)

The unbeliever is always progressing downward in sin. They are growing too. Growing worse. The law of diminishing returns shows us that they will always seek after sin in greater amounts. Whether those amounts consist of huge leaps forward on the road or tiny baby steps depends on the person, but they are always progressing downward.

"All day long he craves and craves, but the righteous gives and does not hold back." (Proverbs 21:26)

 "For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another." (Titus 3:3)

"while evil people and impostors will go on from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived." (2 Timothy 3:13)

I opened with a news story that showed people acting stupidly, seemingly inexplicably. They are changing the face of family law. I showed why people act the way they do. It really isn't inexplicable, it's sin. And sin and sinners get worse. If too many sinners get worse in their sin, society as a whole becomes worse. At the end, there is a tipping point and God gives a society over to its lusts. After that another phrase besides the "law of diminishing returns" comes into play:

"Circling the drain."

If you ever watched bath water drain from a tub, at the end there is just a little bit of water left and it goes around and around the drain before getting sucked down the vortex.

Definition: A medical phrase, "FTD–fixing to die, near extremis, pre-code Medtalk Referring to a patient whose future prospects of life are dim"

The legal article from the Providence Journal above describing our society indicate behavior that clearly shows we have become stupid (futile in our thinking). If marriages are disintegrating at such a rapid pace and through such heinous means as immorality, illicit spying, hatred, and duplicitous technological methods as those ... if people are behaving in such a way so profusely that it has changed an entire segment of the legal profession ... our society is truly circling the drain.

Lord, come soon!


  1. Good Word. We are at the midnight hour. Pray, fast & weep for the lost. Fill your oil lamps and get ready. He's coming back for His Bride.


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