Child Custody

Family Court and Social Media

In the past few years, it has become much more common for social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Myspace and blogs to be used in family law cases.  Social media evidence is now routinely used in divorce cases, alimony reduction hearings, child support hearings, and child custody dispute hearings.  Evidence obtained from social media sites have shown to be crucial to a case. 

In some cases information obtained from social networks is just nonsense, however these websites can be detrimental to a person’s character.  Social networking websites can be used in a case to establish a person’s spending habits, any irresponsible behavior, and personal relationships. 

A major aspect of a child custody dispute is the safety of the child and a parent’s lifestyle affects the child’s well-being.  How you conduct yourself on social media websites can hurt your case. Many divorce lawyers are net-savvy, and they will search your Facebook status or other social networking sites to try to obtain evidence in your case.  When people are on the Internet, and no one is watching them, they have a false sense of anonymity that does not really exist; in reality you are posting your private life over the entire cyber-world.

The use of social media in the courtroom is a very hot topic in family law, especially in child custody and visitation cases.  The best think you can do if you are in the middle of a nasty custody battle, then you should refrain from using social media websites entirely. If you post any material that is questionable, then rest assured your ex-spouse will retrieve it and try to use it against you in court.

Did your husband's new girlfriend Tweet about getting a new diamond bracelet from him? The court could consider this type of gift to constitute a dissipation of marital assets. Did your wife inform the court that she has absolutely no work skills and that she cannot find a job? But, her LinkedIn profile indicates she has many job skills, and is now pursuing many jobs and interviews.

Many people who are getting divorced thoughtlessly put their life out there on the Internet through Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn, Twitter and other forms of blogging.  Here are some typical types of social networking posts that can impact your divorce or child custody case:

  • Posting a picture of your new motorcycle or luxury car after you have just filed a motion to reduce your child support and alimony.
  • You are Tweeting about your crazy Saturday night out when you were supposed to have been parenting your children.
  • You are updating your status about your date night with your new girlfriend/boyfriend even before you have separated from your spouse?

It is crucial to point out that there is a very good chance that while you are posting information on your social networking site, your ex-spouse and her lawyer are printing it out to use against you.

The main lesson to learn from these types of disasters is that you should carefully consider the potential legal ramifications before you post any information on the Internet. Furthermore, you should refrain from commenting about your spouse, their lawyer, or the judge.  Finally, you should not post any pictures of any type of content that could be used against you in family court, and this includes partying, gifts to or from a new girlfriend/boyfriend, or places you should not be. If you are fighting for more time to spend with your kids, and if your ex digs up Facebook postings of you at the strip joint or doing shots in Cancun, then your case could be ruined. This type of evidence could haunt you for years to come.

Here are some real-life scenarios that were used against a person in a divorce/child custody case:

a. A husband joined Match.com and declared he was single and childless, while he seeking primary custody of his children.

b. A husband denied he had any anger management issues, but still posted on Facebook, "If you have the balls to get in my face, I'll kick your ass into submission."

c. A wife was fighting for custody of her children while evidence surfaced from the gaming site “World of Warcraft” tracked her online and chatting with her boyfriend at the precise time she claimed to be out with her children.

d. A mother denied in court that she smoked marijuana, but posted pictures on Facebook of her smoking marijuana.

e. A soon-to-be ex-husband claimed he was unemployed, and he was receiving temporary alimony payments from his wife. However, on Facebook the unemployed man described himself as a business owner and he also wrote details about trips to Las Vegas, South America and to Sea World all taken with his new girlfriend. At the divorce trial the judge denied the husband's request to receive any type of alimony.

f. A father claimed he could not afford to pay any type of child support. However, his online postings showed off photographs of him sitting in a Ferrari, taking a cruise, and selling land that he owned.

Remember, these suggestions are only a small part of a good Child Custody Investigations.  Work with a professional Private Detective or Private Investigator who will complete an extensive investigation and provide the necessary documentation to ensure the custody issues are covered and presented by an objective third party to the court,.