Most of us spend a lot of time on social media. In fact, the average American spends 144 minutes a day on social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter—keeping up with friends, family, and that one actor who was really good in that one movie. No matter how you use social media, it is hard to ignore the drastic impact it has had on all of our lives.
While the social media landscape changes daily, and sometimes even hourly, there are certain aspects that stay the same. Namely, that what you post on these platforms can be admissible in court. If you're going through a divorce or child custody battle, it is important to know that the posts you make on social media platforms can be used as evidence against you.
The goal of the court during a custody battle is to discover the best interests of the children involved, and often only occurs in cases of estrangement, or where the parents are either unwilling or unsuccessful at mediation. This puts the custody arrangements entirely in the hands of the court. The weight of social media will vary on a case-by-case basis—often dependent on the judge and severity of the content being shared. This makes it crucial to understand best practices for using social media during your custody case to help you navigate the custody process more successfully.
Tips for Using Social Media During a Custody Battle
When going through a heated custody battle, it can be tempting to vent or air your grievances online. However, with social media having the power to impact the results of your custody, being smart about using these platforms is crucial.
Below are a few tips for using social media during a custody battle:
- Avoid using it entirely: If you can, stay off of social media during your custody case. While certain jobs require utilizing social media, try and go radio silent as much as you can.
- Make your profile private and block your ex: If you're worried about privacy, feel free to make your profile private, so only your friends can see it. You can also block your ex from seeing what you post. However, don’t view this as now having carte blanche, as posts can still be screenshot and shared without your knowledge.
- Don't delete posts. Deleting posts isn't typically a good idea because if someone has screenshot a post and your ex or their attorney uses it against you, the court may see the deletion as an admission of guilt. Instead, be honest with the court about your intent.
- Don't disparage your ex or your children. The court frowns on certain kinds of behavior, such as disparaging your ex or derogatory statements about parenting on social media.
- Be careful about what you post. As we mentioned earlier, we suggest refraining from posting on social media. If you do decide to post, think about the content. You don’t know the judge or their sense of humor. If you make a joke on social media about parenting, the judge may interpret it as a knock on your skills as a caregiver. Additionally, avoid posting anything the court may interpret wrongly or that puts you in a bad light such as partying or using alcohol or drugs.
- Don't text or direct message (DM) about the case. If you text or direct message (DM) a friend or family member about the case and they give that information to your ex's attorney, those texts can be used against you in court. Talk with your lawyer and come up with a response you can use when someone texts you to ask how the custody battle is going.
- Talk to your child about their social media use as well: Leveraging social media is not strictly reserved to your and your ex’s accounts. Your children’s social media posts can also be reviewed.
Going through a child custody battle is never easy, and social media adds another layer of complexity. But, with the right approach, it can be significantly less stressful. If you are currently embroiled in a custody battle, and looking for a family law attorney to help you navigate the process, turn to our team at Conti Moore Law, PLLC. We offer free, initial consultations.
Contact us online or via phone at (407) 315-2006 at Conti Moore Law, PLLC to schedule a consultation.