May 30

Social Media: A Child Custody Case No-No

The use of social media, email, and instant messaging has become an integral part of daily life for many individuals. These can all be great tools for communication. However, these seemingly harmless activities can pose significant dangers and have a negative impact on the outcome of a child custody case. 

Doesn’t Delete

Once something is posted online, it is nearly impossible to completely delete it due to the nature of the internet and how information is stored and shared. No matter how fast the post is deleted, once it’s shared online, it can be easily copied and reposted by other users, making removing it almost impossible. It only takes a few minutes for information to go viral and to be shared widely. Even if the original source of information is deleted, copies may still exist on other websites, forums, and social media platforms.

Permanent Record

One of the main dangers of social media, emails, and messaging in custody cases is that they provide a permanent record of a person’s thoughts, beliefs, and behavior. This record can be used against them in court, potentially damaging their case and leading to an unfavorable outcome. For example, if a person posts angry or inflammatory comments about their ex-partner or their children, this information can make them appear unstable or unfit to have custody. Additionally, any incriminating or questionable behavior, such as drug use or criminal activity, can be documented through social media providing hard evidence for the court to consider.

Parental Alienation

Another danger of social media in custody cases is that it can be used as a tool for parental alienation. Parental alienation occurs when one parent attempts to turn their child against the other parent through negative or biased comments or messages. This type of behavior can cause significant harm to the relationship between the child and the targeted parent and negatively impact the outcome of the custody case. Even if parents believe their children don’t have access to social media, their friends may let them use their smartphones or computers. It’s best to refrain from posting anything that can cause others to be negatively impacted.

Electronic Surveillance

Social media can also be a means of electronic surveillance. In a custody case, one parent may monitor the other parent’s social media accounts to gather evidence against them to use in court. It’s wise to refrain from making social media posts to limit their possible use in a custody case.

Tool For Harassment 

Furthermore, social media can also be used as a means of harassment and cyberstalking. In a custody case, one parent may use social media to harass, threaten, or intimidate the other parent. This behavior can create a hostile and dangerous environment for all parties involved and significantly impact the outcome of the custody case.

Negative Posts

Posts that contain negative or derogatory comments about the other parent can be used as evidence in court to show that the parent has a negative and hostile attitude towards the other parent. These types of posts can be harmful to children and can negatively impact their well-being. Remember, if the other parent is not mentioned by name, a judge may still be able to make the connection. 

Evidence Of A Lack of Stability

Posts that show a parent engaging in reckless or irresponsible behavior, such as excessive partying, can be used as evidence in court to show that the parent is not providing a stable environment for the children. This type of behavior can be harmful to children and can negatively impact their well-being.

Red Flag Warnings

It is also important to remember that posts about substance abuse, mental health, or criminal activity can show that a parent is not fit to have custody. This behavior can raise concerns about the parent’s ability to provide a safe and stable environment for their children.

Privacy Concerns

The use of social media during a child custody case can also lead to privacy concerns. Anything posted on social media can be used as evidence in court. It can be seen by anyone who has access to the internet. This can make sensitive information public, damaging both parties involved in the case. It’s essential to be mindful of what you post and share online and how others can interpret it. Always use privacy settings to limit the information available to the public, and be cautious about the information you share.

It’s essential for individuals involved in custody cases to exercise caution when using social media and all other forms of online communication. They should be mindful of the information they share, be wary of electronic surveillance, and avoid using these platforms as a means of harassment or parental alienation. By doing so, they can minimize the risks associated with these forms of communication and ensure that their posts do not negatively impact the child custody case.

Hire An Experienced Family Law Attorney 

The attorneys at Lecour Family Law can help you navigate complex and stressful family legal issues, including divorce, child custody, and child support. Call us today at 636-685-0440 to schedule a consultation. We pride ourselves on offering family legal services tailored to your specific needs.

Lecour Family Law is located at 1270 Jungermann Road in St. Peters, Missouri. We serve clients throughout St. Charles, O’Fallon, Troy, Warrenton, and St. Louis.


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