Social Media & Child Custody: What Can Be Used Against You in a Custody Battle?

In child custody cases, the court prioritizes the best interest of the child. The court considers a variety of factors in determining the child’s best interests, including but not limited to whether either party is unfit, each parent’s willingness to help foster the child’s relationship with the other parent, whether there is a history of abuse, and/or each parent’s ability to care for their child. During the case, each party can present evidence to prove that they are a fit parent and that may call the other party’s parenting abilities into question.

Social media posts are among the types of evidence that can be used in court. The opposing counsel may investigate and submit posts or comments you’ve made on:

  • Facebook
  • Instagram
  • Snapchat
  • Twitter
  • TikTok
  • OnlyFans
  • Blogs
  • Website forms
  • Any other online platform

Even if you have a private account, the opposing counsel may use a fake account to follow you; friends or other people may also take screenshots that can be found. In some cases, the court may require you to submit certain posts or information.

Can Social Media Be Used to Determine Parental Fitness?

You may be wondering what your social media posts can tell the court. While you may believe your social media is simply a diary or branded look at your life, what you post and comment on can be used to paint a picture of your life that can be misconstrued by others. For instance, a tweet about your dating life that you meant to be ironic can be used in the wrong context; the opposing counsel may argue that you bring a lot of strangers around who are a risk to your child’s safety. The opposing counsel may also se your social media posts in an attempt to prove that you:

  • Have poor spending habits
  • Drink or party often (including when you have physical custody of your child—based on time stamps)
  • Have questionable individuals or strangers around your child
  • Have a temper
  • Engage in poor spending habits
  • Possess some other unflattering characteristic that affects the best interest of the child and/or your parental fitness

What to Avoid Posting If You Are Involved in a Custody Case

As we mentioned, posts or comments you’ve made on social media platforms can be used against you in court. While you may have made a post innocently, the other party can still use the post to try and paint a picture that supports their claims against you. For instance, a post you made about your third work trip within a month may be used to claim you don’t have a lot of time to dedicate to child-rearing.

During your child custody case, you should avoid posting the following information or details:

  • Complaints about the other party
  • Court proceedings
  • Drug use or alcohol consumption (even though weed and alcohol are legal)
  • Financial or budget concerns or advances
  • New relationships
  • Nights out with friends
  • Threatening messages
  • Posts that show you engaging or encouraging someone else’s engagement in harmful actions
  • Posts that seem reckless, dangerous, or harmful in nature

It is important to note that your comments on other parties’ posts and as well as posts and comments made by family and friends may also be reviewed. You should ask them to be mindful of what they post concerning the other party as well.

Consult with Our Attorneys

At Creative Family Solutions, Cianci Law, PC, our attorneys have over 60 years of collective experience. If you are involved in a custody case, we can help educate you on your legal rights and options as well as the laws governing your case so you can make informed decisions. Once you retain our services, our firm can help you develop a personalized case strategy and advise you of what the opposing counsel may use against you in court.

To schedule a case consultation, call (916) 797-1575 or reach out online today.

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