Pursuing legal and physical custody of your child can help you maintain a positive relationship after a divorce or separation. However, custody disputes are often stressful and emotionally traumatic. When each parent is fighting for the right to have custody, or is accusing the other side of being unfit to have custody, evidence is important. In recent years, social media posts have become admissible in court. This means anything you post on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, or other social media sites can be used against you in a custody case.
Judges often rely on evidence to reach a decision regarding joint or sole custody. The goal in every case is the best interest of the child. Thus, if it is proven that you are not capable of adequately providing for the child’s physical, emotional, mental, and social needs, you may not be able to obtain custody of your child.
Understanding the Effects of Social Media Use on Your Custody Case
Many people don’t consider the fact that what they post on social media can be used as evidence in their custody case. Lawyers and private investigators often search social media profiles to find pictures and posts that support their argument in court. Because the judge will use that evidence to reach a decision, social media posts can greatly influence your ability to maintain custody of your son or daughter.
In general, there are 4 types of posts that can harm your custody case:
- Posts that have emotional content
- Posts that have contradictory content
- Posts that talk about new relationships
- Posts that seem to offer misleading information
Angry or emotional posts on social media can make it appear as though you are incapable of providing the emotional support and consistency your child needs. Especially if you post negative things about the child’s other parent, the judge, or anyone involved in the case, it can be used as evidence that you are unfit to provide emotional care for your child. Thus, you should avoid writing emotionally-charged messages on social media, and abstain from posting anything negative about others involved in the case.
Furthermore, posts that contradict your statements in court can be used against you. For example, if a social media post describes you smoking marijuana, and you stated in court that you do not use marijuana, this can be used to undermine your argument and credibility. Posts that talk about new dating relationships, while fine in themselves, may also harm your case. This is true particularly if you post on dating websites that you are single with no kids, when you are actively seeking custody.
In some cases, social media posts can be taken out of context. Thus, they may appear misleading, and can hinder your argument in court. For example, if you post a picture of you drinking at a party, traveling to different states and countries, or doing lots of activities outside the home without your kids, this may be used to show that you do not spend enough time caring for your children. The judge can then use this information when determining whether or not to grant your request of custody.
What You Should Do to Reduce the Risk of Social Media Being Used Against You
The best thing to do is stay off of social media completely. At the very least, make sure your privacy settings are at the highest level, and unfriend people such as your ex-spouse and his or her family and friends who may try to use your posts against you. Depending on your case, it may be a good idea to completely deactivate your social media accounts, and to avoid posting anything regarding the facts of the case.
Dedicated Representation for Family Law Matters in Oklahoma City
At Mazaheri Law Firm, we provide compassionate legal assistance to individuals seeking custody of their children. Whatever your situation, we can discuss your options for pursuing a beneficial outcome. Our Oklahoma City family law attorneys have a thorough knowledge of the child custody legal system. From start to finish, we can answer your questions and help you understand the best options regarding your social media accounts and other issues that could affect your case.
Contact us today to request a consultation, and discuss your situation with our experienced legal advocate.