Don’t let social media derail your child custody case

Photo of attorney Melinda L. Singer

It’s not uncommon to see a news story reporting that an old Facebook picture or a comment on X has ended the career of a politician or celebrity. Cheerleaders have been kicked off squads, and athletes have seen college scholarships disappear because somebody tagged them in photos showing them drinking and engaging in risky behavior.

Therefore, it should come as no surprise that the opposing party in your child custody case will be doing a deep dive into your online presence to find evidence they can use against you.

Does your online activity reflect your values?

Your social media activity can be scrutinized to assess your character and behavior. Posts that depict irresponsible or inappropriate behavior, even if taken out of context, can be used to argue that you are an unfit parent.

Additionally, making statements on social media that contradict your claims in court can undermine your credibility. You may claim financial hardship in court but post about expensive purchases online. Or you present yourself as an attentive parent who spends most of your time with your child, but pictures showing you out in clubs with friends show a different story.

Posting pictures or information about your children can also be problematic. Not only does it expose them to potential risks, but it can also be seen as compromising their privacy and well-being, which courts take seriously.

The best approach is to stay entirely off social media while going through custody hearings. If that isn’t possible, you should evaluate your content carefully and ask yourself if it could be used against you in court. Minimize your interactions and avoid engaging in heated discussions that could escalate into something damaging.

It is also not unusual for the opposing counsel to go through years of social media posts. Consider reviewing what you have posted and been tagged in in the past. Delete anything that may be used against you, and ask your friends and family to do the same.

If you are unsure about your social media activity, discuss it with someone who can provide specific guidance tailored to your case and help you understand what is and isn’t appropriate to post.


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