Your Social Media Accounts During a Child Custody Case
Social media enables many benefits. It can provide a great way for a company to market its goods and services. It can keep friends and family up to date on one another’s lives. It can educate and entertain. No matter who is posting, why they are, and what they post, one thing is true. It’s out there for the world to see, read, and judge.
What you post or share on your social media accounts can speak volumes. If you are involved in a child custody battle, what your social media says about you can affect the outcome of your case. An experienced child custody attorney will be able to tell you why.
At the Law Office of Shelly Jean John, I help clients in Ontario and Riverside, California, and throughout San Bernardino and Riverside counties, understand how social media can affect their case. If you are fighting for custody of your child, there are some factors you should consider.
Does Social Media Project a Certain Image?
Social media absolutely projects an image of the accountholder. The types of posts you share on your accounts communicate your values, beliefs, what you like, and what you despise. The photos and content you post, as well as your comments on other people’s posts, can reveal a lot about the person you are.
Of course, not everything puts you in a negative light or paints you as a bad parent. However, there is a temptation to use social media as a way to vent your feelings about those close to you or to get back at people you believe are harming you or treating you unfairly. You don’t even have to disclose names of those people. Anyone who knows who you are and what you may be experiencing at the time will read between the lines.
How Can Social Media Affect My Child Custody Case?
What you say or post about the other parent, or even imply about them, can make them angry. When the other parent gets angry, they may become combative. That makes negotiating a child custody arrangement extremely difficult.
Even if you don’t use your social media account to air your grievances against the other parent, they may use what you post to illustrate to a judge that you lack responsibility or hold beliefs that may be harmful to your child. For example, a judge seeing posts of sexualized men and women or inappropriate comments about them may question your ability to parent. Posting photos of your new expensive car or a new tattoo with your new love interest’s name may not project the image the judge wants to see when deciding child custody matters.
Should you post on social media during your divorce? Social media could be your way to let your friends and followers know what is going on in your life, but perhaps it is better to keep that to yourself until important legal matters are resolved.
How Can I Protect Myself During a Child Custody Case?
How you can protect yourself on social media when going through a divorce is by playing it smart. Here are some rules you may want to abide by:
Take a break from social media when going through a divorce or child custody battle. If you have to be on certain platforms for your job or to keep up with family, including your child, stick to only what is necessary and avoid scrolling through anything else. Avoid posting, commenting, sharing, and private messaging on those platforms. Communicate in other ways instead.
Don’t post anything about your child or their activities. Posting photos and certain information about children, such as where they go to school or the activities they participate in, increases the risk of identity theft and even kidnapping. Even if you are careful about what you say, your actions may be perceived negatively by the judge.
Don’t post anything that speaks to your financial situation. Your finances are central to divorce settlements, child custody, and child support, so keep them private. Don’t post check-ins from expensive restaurants or vacation spots. Don’t talk about your work promotion or the new apartment you have rented in the best part of the city.
Never talk about or refer to your child’s other parent on social media, even if you want to praise them. Doing so simply invites others to comment and ask questions. Of course, you did not ask them to, but you opened the door.
Don’t post photos of new relationships or even those that imply that you are in a new relationship. You need to settle your divorce and custody issues before you go there. Otherwise, your still-spouse can use that information to frame you in a negative light.
Don’t scroll through social media accounts to spy on the other parent. They will know you are when something slips during a conversation or negotiation. Also, don’t check on their family or friends as a backdoor way to find out what they are doing. Spying or stalking never go over well with the court.
Check your privacy settings on each and every social media account. Make sure your settings are not public. You should limit who can see your posts.
Unfriend, unfollow, and block people you know are likely to share information about your social media with the other parent. Social media makes it too easy for people to know your business when you don’t want them to.
Speak With an Experienced Attorney
It is difficult to know what to do and what not to do when you are embroiled in a child custody matter. You need to be able to rely on your family law attorney to help you make smart decisions, especially about the exposure risks of social media.
Take a break from your accounts and call the Law Office of Shelly Jean John in Ontario, California, to schedule a time to talk. I’m here to help, so call now.