Pennsylvania Family Law and Divorce
Lisa Marie Vari & Associates, P.C.

Custody and Facebook: What's the Relation?

In Pennsylvania, child custody is determined based on what is in the best interests of the child.  Courts take many factors into consideration, including the stability of each parent, the parent's mental and physical fitness, potential substance abuse of parents, history of domestic violence, and the parent's morality and character.

In order to make these parental fitness determinations, Courts often turn to a person's social media presence.  A person's Facebook, Twitter, or MySpace page could be used as evidence in a family law court in determining whether a parent is "fit" to have custody of their children. 

Tips for being "cautious" with social media:

Whether you are going through a custody dispute, or you are trying to seek new employment post-divorce, you may not realize how important it is to keep your social media profile private.  Of course it is not bad to "get your name out there," but, there are ways that social media can hurt you.

1) Do not accept every friend request sent your way.

You should keep your list of friends limited to just the people that you know, and know well.  Otherwise, you may end up having pictures posted of you that you are not aware of and that may hurt you later on.

2) Keep tabs on your social media pages and what is being posted. 

Sometimes, things can be posted that end up on your page without your consent. Make sure you are checking frequently and knowing exactly what is being posted on your own page.

3) Make sure you are aware what privacy settings you have. 

You may end up getting into trouble when you think your profile is "private" but it is actually public and many more people are able to access your personal information than you thought.

4) Be smart.

There are positive reasons to have social media pages: to keep in touch with old friends, coworkers, and for job search purposes.  Make sure you know what type of audience is viewing your page before you decide what to post.

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