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Spending history: Who gets custody?

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An expose put out by the New York Times could have serious ramifications regarding divorce proceedings in Maryland and states across the country. The expose details the abilities of companies, such as Target, to compile detailed analyses of a consumer's spending habits as a means of tracking and predicting said consumer's life cycle events.

What this really means is that there may be record of an individual's purchases. This record can have serious consequences for child custody or alimony proceedings if an individual's soon-to-be ex successfully subpoenas the purchasing record for an individual from a store that person frequents.

For instance, spending trends and studies have shown that the pressures and stress that come along with the process of divorce may cause some to consumer more alcohol. As a result, an individual may be purchasing more liquor. This increase in liquor purchases could be submitted as evidence that an individual may have abusive tendencies regarding alcohol, which would not be in the best interest of the child. These tendencies could indicate that said individual is not fit for full or joint custody.

These records could affect alimony proceedings as well. If an individual is regularly spending large amounts of money at a clothing retailer and the records are subpoenaed, this could be indicative that the spouse is not in need of alimony.

In child custody proceedings, when several aspects of a parent's behavioral patterns may be scrutinized, it is important to remain mindful. If an individual in Maryland fears that their spending history could affect their child custody proceedings, it would behoove that individual to seek experienced legal counsel.

Source: Huffington Post, "Divorce Meets Big Data," Richard Komaiko, Mar. 2, 2012

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