It is no secret that social media can negatively impact a relationship. Although social media has only been part of our daily lives for a decade or so, studies show that as many as 1 in 5 divorces involve Facebook.
But once the divorce is in motion, social media can still damage your case, especially if child custody is involved. Social media posts and usage can negatively impact your case.
How Social Media Impacts Your Child Custody Case
During a divorce or child custody case, we recommend staying away from social media altogether. Privacy settings aren’t always as private as we like to believe. Don’t think that because your account is locked down that posts won’t make their way out.
Types of Posts to Avoid
If you just can’t resist social media while your case is ongoing, here are some things your former spouse’s custody lawyer can use to bolster their case against you.
Venting Online About Your Case
Venting about your case, your attorney, the judge, or your former spouse can make its way back to the judge and will not do you any favors. Avoid making negative posts that have anything to do with your child custody case, even after it is over.
Partying, Drinking, and Drug Use
Other types of posts that can hurt you are posts about drinking, drug use, or partying. This can make you look irresponsible and judges are not likely to ignore posts of this nature. Drink responsibly, stay away from drugs, and don’t post about partying on social media.
Posts that Give an Inaccurate Impression of Your Finances
Income can be a big factor in child custody, typically to determine how much child support a party has to pay or is entitled to, depending on the party in question. Posting about lavish vacations, expensive purchases, or new vehicles can lower the amount of child support you are entitled to (since it would appear as though you are financially stable enough not to need it) or increase the amount you have to pay (since it would appear as though you have extra support to give). Either way, we do not recommend posting about large purchases while your case is ongoing. It’s tempting to show off, but resist that urge and you won’t have to worry about the judge altering your child support agreement.
Dating websites are one form of social media that often gets overlooked. Even if you are separated, you are not divorced. If you choose to make dating profiles before your divorce is finalized, do not state that you are single. We recommend waiting until after you are divorced and your child custody arrangement is settled to begin dating or joining dating sites.
Your Child’s Social Media Usage
Another aspect of social media that is often overlooked is your child’s social media usage. If your child or children are old enough to have their own social media accounts, it’s important to monitor them extra closely during your child custody case. If your child posts anything about the money you or your former spouse are (or aren’t) spending, any expensive gifts, or mom or dad’s new boyfriend or girlfriend, it can have the same negative impact it would if you posted it yourself.
Important Things to Remember About Social Media
While the safest way to ensure social media doesn’t impact your child custody case is avoiding it until everything is settled, here are some rules for safe social media usage:
- Privacy settings don’t guarantee privacy. Friends of your former spouse’s friends may have access to your account and be able to share screenshots with your spouse (and by extension, their attorney).
- Deleting a post doesn’t make it go away. Again, if it is up long enough for someone to take a screenshot, it can come back to hurt you. Deleting a post can also make it seem like you are trying to hide something. If you have any doubts about posting something, don’t post it.
- Remember that posts are time stamped, which can become an issue if you post repeatedly while you’re with your children or supposed to be with your children.
Don’t Let Social Media Negatively Impact Your Child Custody Case
Schedule your confidential consultation with one of our compassionate divorce lawyers by filling out our contact form below or call us at 252-212-3000.