Technology is at the forefront of how we communicate with our family, friends, and others in the community. Applications such as Facetime, Twitter, and Snapchat allow families to see or hear their loved ones easier when face to face interactions are difficult. However, the accessibility of information posted and transferred on and through these social media platforms have become been an important topic of discussion in the family law arena. In contested paternity or divorce proceedings, parties often vent their frustrations towards their former spouse or children through social media, regardless of the ramifications that could occur.

From a legal perspective, posts and images on Facebook are very much available to be used in court and taken into consideration by a judge. Depending on the content of the post, a party’s credibility could be severely jeopardized, as well as the merits of their case. Here are some guidelines to consider when posting on social media:

  • Remember that most social media sites have privacy settings. These settings limit the accessibility of the public to view your profile. Remember that you and your former spouse could have mutual friends on social media, which is another good reason to limit the use of negative posts about your former spouse.
  • Do not use social media to demean your former spouse or your child(ren). In an emotionally charged situation like an active family law case, it is easy to be overwhelmed during a divorce or paternity proceeding. Often people will post damaging pictures regarding their former spouse or child(ren) and not realizing the damage that it will cause.
  • Be aware! It is understandable that often people will want to enjoy themselves after a hard day at work. Often people will post pictures of being at a concert, drinking at a bar, or at adult entertainment establishments to share their excitement with others. Yet, how would it look if the parent was supposed to be taking care of the child(ren) but was legally intoxicated at a bar with them? This could be severely damaging to a custody proceeding.