Social media: A source of marital conflict and evidence in child custody and divorce lawsuits.
Social media may help you make new friends, communicate/connect with old friends and family, network, or communicate with people with similar interests. Social media use may also contribute to divorce, and social media posts can also provide important evidence during child custody hearings, divorce proceedings, enforcement actions and protective order hearings.
During a divorce or child custody case evidence can be compelled from multiple sources. In recent years, evidence gained from social media outlets such as Facebook have had a significant impact on legal proceedings.
Evidence gained from social media may be persuasive in showing the judge that:
- An extramarital affair has occurred,
- That a party has spent community property on the affair,
- That a romantic partner has been brought around the children,
- That a party to the divorce has been engaging in activity that may endanger the physical health or emotional development of the child.
Social media can have complex effects on a divorce proceeding or child custody case. The negative or harmful activity on social media that caused your divorce may be used as a paper trail to cause a negative or harmful effect on your divorce proceeding. The evidence gained from social media may reveal information about the parents, lifestyle or ability to care for the child that may influence the court during a hearing. When preparing for a divorce you must keep these effects in mind.
Talk to a lawyer before commencing a divorce or child custody case
What evidence will influence the final outcome of your divorce or child custody case? Sometimes the answer to this question can be complex. Social media may provide the court with more information than you want anyone to know.
What information, relevant to you your child custody or divorce, may be obtained from social media?
Social media can be used to show a parent’s state of mind. Is there a large quantity of pictures showing alcohol consumption, pro drug articles, or a large amount of partying? The lifestyle choices that a person chooses to post on a social media account can show that a person is not putting their child first. Perception of the evidence is the issue.
Social media may be used to document a person with romantic partners that may be used as proof of adultery during the marriage. The evidence may show that you were at a particular place at a particular time. Were you supposed to be with your children at a particular time? Yes. A picture gleaned from a social media account with a time-date stamp — along with longitude and latitude of your precise location — may persuade a court that you were not where you were supposed to be.
The information a person posts can be used as evidence of their actions, spending or income, to track where you have been. This evidence may be used during a heated custody battle or divorce proceeding.
Social media may be used to prove that you have violated court orders
In Williamson County, Texas, lawyers generally will obtain restraining orders to maintain the status quo, to preserve and protect property, or simply to attempt to cause people to be congenial to each other during a divorce or child custody case. Social media posts, messages, and email may be used to persuade the court that a person was violating the restraining order. Social media outlets such as Facebook store all the activity and information that has been posted or communicated on your account.
Changing your privacy settings will not keep the court from viewing this information. The opposing party during a divorce or child custody case may compel you to download your entire Facebook, or other social media account, and transfer it to their lawyer during a divorce or child custody case.
While social media can be a great resource for your relationships with friends, family and co-workers, one should consider the above information to minimize social media’s influence on your divorce, child custody case or marriage.
How to safely use social media during your divorce or child custody case
Remember the old saying that less is more. What I mean by this statement is that when communicating on social media, consider your audience before you communicate. Pretend that the post, text or email is being given directly to the judge before you press enter, post or send.
Do not use social media:
- as your counselor,
- to share personal information,
- to communicate with romantic partners.
Remember that the people on your social media account are not your close personal friends. You cannot trust them with your personal information, opinions, and feelings. Absolutely resist the temptation to use social media as your support system during your divorce or child custody case. Complaints about your ex-romantic partner, spouse, or children should never be posted on a social media site.
Written communication, texts, emails, pictures, and social media provide some of the strongest evidence in child custody or divorce proceedings.
Seek advice from divorce or child custody lawyer
Evidence used during divorce and child custody proceedings may be complex with many different effects on your case. To fully prepare for a divorce or child custody case, seek the advice of an attorney. Round Rock Lawyers may be able to offer advice on relevant laws, practices and other issues that may ultimately impact your case.
If you have any questions about divorce or child custody call the Round Rock Law Office of Clifford Swayze at 512-920-5080. We serve communities in Williamson County, including Cedar Park, Round Rock, Leander, Georgetown, Liberty Hill, Hutto, Taylor and Austin.