If you're dealing with a child custody case, understanding how social media can - and probably will - impact your case is vital if you want to obtain the best outcome for your children. Today, we're going over how social media can impact your custody case.
To schedule a consultation with one of our custody attorneys, contact us online or via phone at (719) 212-4227.
Try Not to Post Derogatory Information About Your Spouse on Social Media
In any custody dispute, the court has one priority: Make whatever decisions it believes are in the child's best interests. As a result, courts often pay close attention to how parents conduct themselves during custody cases.
Parents also have the opportunity to showcase evidence to the court if they believe doing so could help the court determine an appropriate custody arrangement. When it comes to evidence, social media posts are typically fair game.
Using someone else's password to access a social media account or breaking into another person's device is usually illegal, but public posts on social media - and in some cases, even private messages between parties - are fair game when it comes to courtroom evidence.
As such, you want to avoid posting anything that could give the court a negative impression of your character or parenting skills. One of the things courts look for when determining custody is how willing parents are to work together to support their child's best interests. If the court finds posts of you talking badly about your child's other parent - particularly if your child also has access to your social media account and is old enough for your posts to influence their opinions - it will reflect badly on you during your custody battle.
Consider Avoiding Posts About Your Kids, the Court Case, or New Partners
In a similar vein to the above advice, you may want to rethink making any posts that allude to the court case, your children, and especially a new partner you have (if you have started dating or are engaged in a new relationship when your custody case is undergoing).
The court may worry that a new partner could result in an unsafe environment for your child, and - at the very least - will want evidence indicating such concerns are unfounded.
Additionally, posts about the child custody case itself may reflect poorly on your judgment, especially if they discuss frustrations you have with the court.
Last but certainly not least, you'll want to consider posts with your children carefully. For many parents, whether children should feature in social media posts or not is a major point of discussion. Posting about or with your children, especially if you haven't clarified that doing so is acceptable with your co-parent yet, is often seen as something of a faux pas.
Speak with Your Attorney Before Deleting Posts
At this point you may be wondering, "well, what is safe to post? Should I Just delete everything?"
To answer the first question, as long as your posts won't indicate a lack of caregiving capacity to the court, they should be fine. For example, no reasonable judge is going to be offended about a post featuring a cute puppy or something equivalently harmless. However, if you want to be safe, taking a break from social media while your case is ongoing may be the best move.
As for deleting posts, speak with your attorney first. If you delete a post but your co-parent or their attorney got a screenshot of it first, they'll still be able to use it as evidence in court as long as they can prove the screenshot isn't doctored.
As a result, deleting posts may actually make it look as though you've got something to hide. Many attorneys will advise you to simply own up to poor mistakes or decisions you've made with your social media accounts. If you can show the court that you're willing to admit to and learn from your mistakes, that will come off better than appearing as though you're trying to sweep said mistakes under the rug.
At the Law Office of Greg Quimby, P.C., our team is dedicated to helping Coloradans navigate divorce, working with them to achieve optimal results in and out of the courtroom. Contact us online or via phone at (719) 212-4227 to schedule a consultation with our team for your case.