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Social media was designed to keep people connected. Whether it is used to keep up with family members living in another state or wishing your friend who is currently studying abroad a happy birthday—social media is a great resource to stay connected when you aren’t able to be physically present. While many of us use social media to stay connected to people we like, it’s important to remember that social media is not 100% private. In a child custody matter, social media can also be a tool that the other parent, and their lawyer, use to collect evidence to question your parental fitness.
Do Courts Really Consider Social Media Posts in Child Custody Cases?
In custody cases, the court will rule in favor of what serves the child’s best interest. It will consider all evidence introduced during the proceedings, including potential social media posts. Attorneys have used the following platforms as evidence:
- Comments on website forums
Nothing is safe from scrutiny when posted on the internet. Occasionally, even posts made by the children involved in child custody cases can be submitted as evidence.
What Can Social Media Tell a Court?
Although many do not believe that what is shared on social media can be inflammatory, sharing your life on social media can paint a picture—even if that picture is not accurate. Used in the wrong context, social media posts may imply the following:
- Poor spending habits;
- Bad choices in your personal relationships;
- Drinking or partying (especially when the child was in your possession);
- You bring your children around questionable individuals;
- Your children are not your priority;
- Inability to control your temper; and
- More unflattering characteristics
It’s important to note that if you and your former partner are battling for custody, anything can be used and taken out of context to show irresponsible behavior.
Social Media Posts to Avoid if Involved in a Custody Dispute
There are several social media platforms that parents use to post pictures, videos, and comments regarding different aspects of their lives. However, some people treat social media as a personal diary and use it to vent when stressed. Do not use social media to do the following:
- Vent about court proceedings
- Complain about the other parent
- Discuss new relationships
- To show a night out drinking
- Discuss drug use
- Talk about your finances
- Posts that may be interpreted as threats against anyone else
Even if someone doesn’t actually intend to engage in harmful actions, postings that seem reckless, dangerous, or harmful can negatively impact a child custody case in Texas.
In addition to the examples from above, even if parents don’t post on their personal page, inappropriate comments made by the parent on another person’s page can be used by opposing counsel as well. It’s important to remember that regardless of privacy settings nothing you post online is actually private.
Tips on how to use social media during a custody dispute in Texas
If you and the other parent are involved in a custody dispute, here are a few tips to keep in mind to best present yourself on social media:
- Be aware of what comments or messages you write, including direct messages. If you speak negatively about the other parent through a text or messaging application those texts could be used as evidence against you.
- Don’t delete. Some courts may interpret deleting posts as an admission of guilt. As mentioned earlier, if the post you are about to publish is at all questionable, do not post it.
- Simply don’t post. Unless it is completely necessary for you to use social media, don’t post until your case is resolved, and certainly do not post about the case itself.
How can The Carlson Law Firm Help?
Social media and custody cases can be a lot. Therefore, you need experienced professional help from a custody lawyer that specializes in family law. If you are needing help with orders for custody, visitation, and child support, don’t hesitate to reach out to The Carlson Law Firm. One of our qualified family law attorneys is ready to assist you. We represent clients in the following counties:
Call us today at 800-359-5690 for a free consultation. We care. We can help.