If you have a pending child custody matter, the actions you take now could affect the outcome of your case. One area in which parents often get in trouble is their social media usage. At the same time, social media can be beneficial to your case when used in the right way. And your child’s accounts, if he or she has any, may also prove relevant. Cohen Family Law is here to advise you on how to make the strongest possible case in court.
How social media can hurt you
Consider, first, the potential negative effects of your social media usage. A judge is going to decide your custody matter based upon a variety of factors, including which parent is more fit to have the most amount of time with the child. If your social media page is filled with evidence of irresponsible behavior, there’s a good chance it could be used against you. An example might be if you routinely post pictures of yourself drinking and partying to excess. Obviously, evidence of any sort of illegal conduct such as drug use will also not reflect on you well. So be careful with the pictures, posts, comments, and other content you put online, on your own profile, and elsewhere.
Also, it can be tempting to use your social media account to vent about your custody case or complain about the other parent. This is not a good idea. Judges want to see evidence that parents are at least trying to get along and co-parent for the benefit of the child. Even if the other parent is being uncooperative or hostile towards you, don’t respond in kind. To be on the safe side, don’t even talk about the custody case at all.
It’s also worth noting that even if you have the strictest possible privacy settings, you cannot assume that the other parent cannot access your profile. Always start from the assumption that whatever you post could end up in court.
How social media can help you
Social media usage is not all bad, and in some cases can actually benefit your position in the custody matter. For instance, you may be able to find evidence of unfitness on the part of the other parent. If the other parent is not as responsible as you are with social media, and posts pictures or other content to that effect, take screenshots and send them to your attorney. Be sure to also check the social media pages of places, such as bars and restaurants, where the other parent frequents and where less-than-flattering pictures and comments could be found.
You should also use your social media page to highlight the extent to which you are a good parent. Did you and your child recently visit a park or zoo? Did you celebrate your child’s birthday or some other special event? Did your child recently participate in an extracurricular or athletic activity that you attended? Or maybe you recently took some pictures and videos with your child for no particular reason. Post these and show off what you’re doing to parent your child.
Don’t be afraid to tell your lawyer about the good and bad of your social media content. If you posted something questionable recently, let your lawyer know so there aren’t any unwelcome surprises later. And ask your attorney how best to handle unwise content you posted.
Does your child use social media?
It’s not uncommon for children to have their own Facebook, Instagram, and other social media accounts. It is vital that you monitor your child’s activity to prevent anything embarrassing from being put online. You and your child custody lawyer can develop a social media plan for how best to manage your child’s accounts during this time.
Here to Advise You on Your Custody and Other Matters
At Cohen Family Law, we provide not just legal advice but practical tips for presenting the most compelling family law case that you can. If you have questions about your social media usage or other aspects of your custody case, reach out to us today.