Social media or custody of your children? Which one do you cherish more?
Child custody cases are difficult for clients. Unfortunately, it is the emotional nature of child custody issues that makes clients’ misuse of social media one of my most challenging issues as an attorney. I get it. It feels good—even if it’s just for a moment— to blow off steam with a piping hot Facebook post (that doesn’t actually mention the other parent by name, so it’s harmless, right?). And all of those Facebook ‘likes’ on your child custody issue frustrations and woes can feel very validating at a time when you need validation from your friends and family the most.
However, use of social media during your child custody case can be dangerous and foolish. Here are my top recommendations about use of social media to clients who are going through a child custody dispute:
- NEVER slam the other parent on social media.
- Refrain from any and all Facebook updating, commenting, liking, or sharing that can be seen as making a comment on the case or disparaging the other party. You may want to share your true feelings about the case on Facebook. But all it will accomplish will be to heat up an already difficult situation.
- Even better advice…stay off Facebook until your case is complete. Don’t use Facebook to share your life with the world while you and your child’s future is pending with the court. It’s simple: if you stay off Facebook, nothing you say, innocent or otherwise, can be used against you, because it’s just not there to be found.
- If you decide to stay active on social media during your child custody dispute, remember your social media photos are worth a thousand words. Never post pictures of yourself in bars, drinking alcohol, at parties, and definitely never using illegal substances. What you may see as innocent pictures of a fun night out with friends, are now being shown in court as a way to support the other parent’s effort to depict you as a bad parent.
- Social media privacy is an oxymoron. If you think none of this applies to you because you are smart and have your social media accounts set to private, think again. You would be amazed at how many of my clients’ “friends” have been willing to provide their opposing party with access to their “private” social media posts and photos.
- If your account is not set to private, the other parent and their attorney is regularly reviewing your activity. And Facebook accounts with photos can be incriminating when they include drugs and drug paraphernalia lying about your house, photos where you are visibly intoxicated, photos that undoubtedly show an adulterous relationship, and volumes of your derogatory comments about the other parent that go directly to your own fitness as a parent.
GOLDEN RULE: If it is on your Facebook account, your judge will see it.
If you are fighting for your children, stay away from Facebook and other social media while your child custody case is ongoing. What you post can be misunderstood and will used against you. Getting through a heated custody case is hard enough. So, before you post that comment or photo on Facebook, remember your end goal: custody of your children.
Custody is a sensitive topic in divorce cases. Child custody mediation will put your child first and set you up for a healthy co-parenting relationship. With an experienced attorney and mediator like Laurie Schmitt, you will be able to navigate your new family dynamic with clear understanding and communication. Looking for a professional and experienced family law attorney, contact us online or give us a call at (616) 608-4634. Our office is located at 401 Hall Street SW, Suite 112D, Grand Rapids, MI 49503. At Schmitt Law, PLLC our commitment is to you!