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

The Dangers of Social Media in Custody Cases

 

A majority of Americans have at least one form of a social media account. Whether it is Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or some other platform, it is important to know that what is posted online can potentially be brought up in a custody action. Social media use can aide the other party in discovering arguments to use in court, or allow the other party access to personal information they may not have already had.

 

 

 

In custody cases, one party may bring up certain characteristics of the other party through examination of a social medial account. Pictures of children or teens around alcohol, for example, could be quite alarming to the court. Even if the picture is simply of a family picnic where the children were not actually drinking the alcohol, the court could still find concerns that the children were so close to it.

There may also be an issue where frequent status updates or even "check-ins" made when one party is supposed to be watching the children could negatively impact that party's custody case. The court could infer improper supervision or even neglect of children when a custodial parent is frequently out at adult-only venues rather than home caring for the kids. There have even been cases where a parent has posted pictures that included drug paraphernalia, and the other parent was quick to bring these pictures to the court's attention. Erratic behaviors can even be inferred from the contents of a social media page, and the court could find these types of behaviors troubling.

Although caution should always be used when posting information on social media sites, it is especially important to take into account these postings when a custody action has begun or may begin. A good rule is to only post things that would be acceptable for the court to see. It is better to be cautious that risk giving the other party the upper hand when it comes to social media and custody.

 

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