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The Impact of Social Media on Child Custody Decisions: Balancing Privacy with Best Interest

Young businesswoman using smart phone ,Social, media

Social media is a big presence in modern society and it’s not going anywhere. Social media is continuing to expand with multiple platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, TikTok, and much more. As social media has become more and more popular, what people post can be used in a courtroom. It can be especially true when it comes to a parent’s posts on their social media platforms. Therefore, balancing privacy and what is in the best interest of the child is important when posting content online.

Emotions run high in divorces, and this can especially be true when children are involved. Social media makes it very easy to rant publicly about the status of a person’s divorce or how unreasonable or unfair the other parent is behaving. Some people go as far as making disparaging remarks about the other parent or even post how they are getting away with their behavior. These posts can quickly become exhibits admitted in a child custody hearing in front of a judge. Depending on the post it can have some serious negative consequences for the person posting the content. Some of these posts can support the position of one parent stating that the other parent cannot encourage the love and affection between them and the children, it can support claims of abuse, and can support claims of people lying about their financial situation. Social media posts like pictures or videos can help the Judge make a credibility finding of a person. Although people have a right to post content freely, people going through a child custody case should think about how their post can impact their case. Is it a post that can be used against them? If so, maybe people should re-think about hitting that “post” button.

Setting social media platforms to private does not cure the problems that can be created as described above. Depending on a person’s following, you never know who is watching and giving information to the other party. This can also be a huge issue if the child or children have their own accounts and follow their parents’ accounts. Everything being posted can find its way to a court room because nothing online is ever really private. Social Media can greatly impact a child custody case because it can inform the Judge of factors that are determinative to the child’s best interest. Just because we can say it or post it, doesn’t mean we should.

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