Facebook, Google+, Twitter and Instagram Users: What to do when you’re facing a contested divorce or custody case
I’ve said it before, and I’ll probably have to say it again: you should always be extremely careful about what you post on social media sites. It’s true all the time, but it’s especially true if you’re going through a divorce or custody case.
Remember that some of what you do, say, and photograph should be private. It’s hard for us to believe now, because so many of us have grown up in the age of technology, but it’s definitely possible to “overshare.” I don’t just mean that no one is really interested in whether you went to the gym or exactly what you ate for dinner. I mean that, if you’re making bad choices and posting pictures or statuses that detail those bad decisions, you’re making a big mistake.
Of course, we all know that employers these days check out our social media accounts. But if we know it, then why do I STILL see so many pictures of my friends drinking? And I don’t just mean holding a glass of wine. I've also seen plenty of pictures of young parents drinking and partying, oblivious to the effect these pictures would have in a custody case. Even posting cute pictures of your child might give a pedophile information about finding the child, and that puts your child at risk. Even if there’s no pedophile scouring your page for pictures of your child, some judges think these pictures are flat out inappropriate, and it’s not good if the judge who is deciding your custody case thinks your internet behavior is inappropriate.
Prior to posting information on the internet, think to yourself:
1. Who has access to my posts? Check your security settings and protect your photos them. If you are on Facebook, for example, you can allow only certain friends or very close family to see your family photos.
2. What could someone do with this information? Posting pictures of your child's cheer, soccer, swim, or other sport team, and the children's names, on an account like Instagram could allow a pedophile to show up at a practice and appear to know your child. "Your mom sent me to pick you up," is a lot more convincing to a child when the peophile knows her name and the name of her friends.
3. How could this information hurt me? If you’re not where you say you are, and photos of you surface on Facebook, you could end up in a world of trouble.
4. Where will this information surprise me? Remember that information you post can make someone (like your judge or GAL) question your judgment and ability to parent. No attorney wants to be surprised in court with pictures of your new “friend” in pajamas in a cozy family photo with your kids. After the judge has seen that, it really won’t seem like you’re being truthful if you say, “Oh, no, Your Honor, he has never slept over.” Think of the damage you could be doing.
Think before you post. Or just don’t post at all, especially while you’re involved in a contested case.