Michael E. Eisenberg Attorney at Law
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Your use of social media may affect your custody issues

When parents decide to end their relationship, determining custody and visitation becomes a priority. Each parent may have his or her own idea of what that should look like. If their respective pictures remain too far apart to negotiate a compromise, going to court may be necessary.

Information reigns when it comes to litigation. In the quest to show the court that you are the better parent and that granting you custody would serve the best interests of the children, you may require evidence that the other parent isn't the right choice to fill that role. One place that many people now turn for such information is social media.

Character evidence

Showing the court that you would make the better primary custodial parent of your children may involve providing the court with evidence that impugns the other parent's character. Social media users still believe that the content on their Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts, among others, remains private. Regardless of how high an individual's security settings are, that simply isn't true.

It may surprise you to know that many parents will post pictures or make statements about their nights out when they were supposed to be with the children, spending time with new partners while still married and expensive purchases or vacations they took while telling the court they have no money.

For example

The following examples of real life instances in which social media worked against a parent trying to obtain custody come from a private investigator: 

  • A man denied having anger management problems while posting on Facebook that he would beat someone into submission for "getting in his face."
  • A woman posted a photograph of herself smoking marijuana after telling the court she did not.
  • A man seeking custody of his children created a profile on Match.com indicating that he had no children and was unmarried.
  • A man's online photos showed him selling his land, on a cruise and sitting in a Ferrari even though he told the court he was broke.

These four examples are far from unusual. People fail to remember that their social media accounts can provide a multitude of negative information to the court in a child custody case.

A simple recommendation

Nearly everyone who works in the family law arena recommends taking a hiatus from social media during the proceedings. Even the appearance of impropriety can damage your chances of achieving your goals when it comes to custody of your children. You may be able to provide a plausible explanation for a post or photograph, but the damage already occurred.

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