What to Know About Social Media and Child Custody Battles in Pennsylvania
December 14, 2021

Given the rapid advancement of technology and the accessibility of the Internet, social media makes it easier than ever to stay in touch with friends and family. Sharing day-to-day activities, pictures, updates, and life events on the many platforms can be done with a few taps or clicks, making them an integral part of everyone’s lives. However, being active on social media also has drawbacks, especially when oversharing.

Social media has firmly embedded itself as a fundamental part of people’s daily routines, so its contents are often used in court, especially in custody proceedings. Parents have begun using social media posts, pictures, and updates as digital proof against their ex when fighting for child custody. For this reason, posting without thoroughly evaluating the repercussions may backfire in the long run, especially when trying to gain custody of a child.

Related Post: Filing for Emergency Child Custody in PA – What to Know

Using Social Media as Digital Evidence

Former spouses have treated social media as a treasure trove of evidence they could use against each other. Many parents have built a case that their ex is unfit to be a parent or should not be granted  custody of a child using evidence found on social media. For this reason, anything you could upload on social media may lead the judge to think that you aren’t suitable to be a custodial parent or do not deserve the kind of custody you are requesting.

It is always important to remember that once something is posted on social media, it is available to anyone, even if you later remove the post. When using social media while involved in divorce or custody proceedings, you should ask yourself what the judge will think when he or she is reviewing your posts.

Examples of digital evidence that can harm your child custody case are pictures of you passed out from drinking, posts about consuming illegal substances, or social media rants about your ex.

Posts Depicting Partying

It’s crucial to remember that even if the pictures of you partying are harmless, your ex can frame it in such a way that you struggle with alcohol or drug abuse. Substance abuse is one of the most pressing reasons a judge awards custody to the other parent, so refrain from posting anything about these activities at all.

Maintaining Privacy

Discussions about privacy and social media have circulated for a few years to highlight prudence when posting anything online. If you upload personal information about your child, your former spouse’s child custody attorney may assert that you were delinquent in your duty to preserve your child’s right to privacy. Be sure not to upload nude images of your child, even when bathing as a toddler. 

Staying Mum About Complaints

Being a parent is hard, so you may feel inclined to air your frustrations on social media, where other parents can discuss their similar experiences and offer guidance. However, if you complain about your child’s behavior or the actions of your former spouse, these can be very damaging to your case when presented in court. The ideal approach to social media is not to upload anything at all, even when you want to post your thoughts or feelings. Anything you post can be used against you, just as you can use anything your ex posts against them.

Sharing Weekend Activities 

If you currently have shared custody, it’s essential to spend the time with your child properly. If you post photos of a weekend trip with friends when it’s your turn to spend time with your child, it gives the impression that you prioritize your social life over your children. This will undoubtedly turn the court in your ex’s favor.

Posting Provocative Pictures

Similarly, avoid posting provocative pictures on social media, as these are often a huge roadblock in custody rights cases. These images, mainly when uploaded onto dating sites, make it seem like you don’t have sound judgment and may put your children at risk. Avoid changing your profile to “single” when in the middle of a divorce. 

Revealing Otherwise Confidential Information

Lastly, no matter how tempting, avoid talking about an ongoing custody case at all on social media, as this can have severe legal repercussions. Unfortunately, this extends to private messaging apps on social media, as these aren’t actually guaranteed to be private. The opposing party may find ways to bring your messages to light, and if they can prove that you divulged confidential information, you may face severe repercussions.

Work With a Custody Attorney in Pennsylvania 

Given social media’s prevalence in society, it’s tempting to speak your mind and post regular updates about your life. However, if you’re in the middle of a custody battle, it’s best to stay off social media altogether or to avoid posting anything.

DaleyZucker is a family law firm in Pennsylvania with expert custody attorneys that can help you navigate child custody proceedings. We are located in Lemoyne, Harrisburg, and Carlisle to offer accessible services to our clients. Contact us today to find out how we can help you with your case.

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