Social Media and Child CustodySeptember 16, 2015
How Could Social Media Impact Child Custody Cases?
Let’s face it; we are living in the Social Media Era. At any moment in time, we can learn via Twitter, Facebook, or any other social media outlet, what a friend had for breakfast, where a loved one is vacationing or even when a coworker isn’t really taking a sick day. We can also access that same information about our exes….ex-friends, ex-coworkers and definitely ex-spouses. Whether or not that is a good thing for humanity is not up for debate in this blog; however, whether or not that type of information is a good thing in a child custody case is relevant in the family law arena.
Social Media as Evidence
A judge in New York recently allowed a mother’s Facebook profile to be admitted as evidence in a custody hearing, which was used by the father to prove that mother was not caring for the parties’ child as much as she had asserted.
In Pennsylvania, the court must consider 15 factors when deciding what legal and physical custody arrangement is in the best interest of the children. It is not uncommon in a custody hearing for copies of text messages and emails to be offered as evidence. It will likely become common practice to do the same with social media postings. As long as the information, whether it’s an email exchange or a parent’s Facebook profile, offered as evidence complies with the necessary rules, it will be admissible and available for the judge to consider when making a decision.
Be Mindful of What You Post!
In this Social Media Era, it appears that no topic is off-limits, but a parent in a child custody conflict should be particularly mindful of the information he or she puts on social media because a judge may very well be reviewing that Facebook post or picture before deciding custody.