De Novo Law Blog
Ways Social Media Can Affect Child Custody & Parenting Time
Social Media in a Custody Case
Learn how social media can influence a court’s decision on child custody and parenting time. Choose from any of the topics below.
- Raising your Voice Toward the Children or Parent
- Making Threats of Physical Harm Toward the Children or other Parent
- Living with a New Partner Before Divorce is Finalized
- Expose Other Parent’s Faults with Mutual Friends
- Refusing to Provide Child Support
- Posting Photos of Property Damage You Cause
- Denying Child of Parent Contact
- Taking the Kids on Trips that the Other Parent is Unaware of
- Speak with a Legal Paraprofessional regarding Social Media
Going through a divorce is never an easy undertaking. In fact, it can be even more arduous when the divorce includes children. As these times become difficult, a spouse can easily behave in a foolish manner that can cause an adverse outcome to their legal custody case.
As a parent going through a divorce involving children, it is important to remember that before, during, and after the start of any proceedings, the entire behavior of both parents will be reviewed. Knowing this should encourage you to remain on your best behavior throughout this time.
In order for you to be prepared for your divorce and subsequent child custody hearing, it is important to know what a judge takes into account while coming to their decision.
You also need to be aware of what to avoid doing as the divorce proceedings continue.
The Child’s Best Interest is in Mind
In order for you to understand how to properly behave throughout a custody hearing, you should be aware of the standard that the court will instill in order to make proper custody order arrangements, develop parenting time, and create a visitation schedule based on the child’s best interest.
Factors to consider include the following:
- How long has a child been cared for by individuals other than the actual parents and surrounding situations related to it.
- The parents’ desires of living situation and agreeing on where to live are considered to be included in the best interest of the child custody.
- The child’s relationship and interactions with any siblings and parents, as well as all others who could impact the best interests of the child.
- How the adjustment of the child is turning out toward the community, home, and school.
- Amount of ability and desire to show respect toward the child’s bond with the other parent and to permit a relationship to continue between the children and parent.
- Spousal abuse allegation or evidence.
- Child abuse allegation or evidence.
- Any child abuse conviction
Keep Your Behavior in Check
If you are desiring to have legal custody, physical custody, or joint custody, your behavior will be fully evaluated, including on social media.
If you know that you have bad habits and your spouse has pointed them out, then they could be used against you.
However, when your behavior is on the straight and narrow, then you will be able to avoid any negative physical custody outcomes.
Some circumstances should also be considered throughout the child custody hearing, such as the children mimicking their parents. You also should understand that everything a child is told by one parent will more than likely be told to the other. With that, you need to keep things to yourself if they do not pertain to the child directly.
Having Conversations Online
When you have a conversation, it can be used as evidence. This means you should suspect that everything you say is being recorded throughout the child custody hearing. These conversations can include social media conversations that you take part in.
When words are spoken or written, they can be easily obtained by the court for review. When the conversations are in writing, such as on social media, they can clearly show that it was going to be known.
Our list of reasons how social media can affect child custody and parenting time should be avoided at all costs.
This is especially true when you are planning to avoid limited visitation.
Avoiding Alienation of a Child’s Affection from the Parent through Social Media or in Person
It is known that the best environment for a child is one where they have both parents. However, when a parent continuously criticizes the other, the result will be the child making the important decisions of who they prefer to live with in order to preserve the parent-child relationship.
The children will ultimately become confused and upset about this alienating behavior. Judges know that this behavior can be damaging and thus do not tolerate this behavior much.
Besides criticizing, it is also a bad idea to prevent the parent from being with the children. This behavior can be harmful to the children. It is important to remember that this alienation can be caused by both parents.
Raising your Voice Toward the Children or Parent
As we mentioned, everything that you say and how you say it will be remembered. This is also true for conversations taking place through social media. So when you decide to have a conversation where you end up yelling, it can be seen as abusive in nature by the words you choose to express.
Oftentimes, one parent is perceived as being the more dominating and more assertive half of the relationship. When this is perceived, the other person will often make it look like they live in fear. Regardless of this fear being authentic, the allegations that are made are taken seriously by the court.
The last thing that you want to do is allow her to make accusations. When accusations occur, the parent may be viewed in a negative manner, such as having no self-control.
Regardless of the difficulty, restraint needs to be shown instead of having an outburst. When restraint is utilized, then there will be no impeding bad behavior.
Making Threats of Physical Harm Towards the Children or other Parent
When you have a heated conversation through social media and self-control is lost, threats of physical harm may occur. Hopefully, these threats do not come into being, but if they do, then it will turn into a crime if physical contact takes place.
When a judge catches wind of this, then the parent causing the harm will ultimately lose any type of physical custody case, especially physical custody. When physical violence takes place, the children may become upset and confused.
When this occurs, the children may develop issues with their emotional state, which can last their entire life.
Living with a New Partner Before Divorce is Finalized
Children often have a difficult time with the divorce and even harder times when they see their parents no longer loving each other. When you add the fact that a new partner enters the scene, then it can be a complete game changer for the entire divorce and custody order.
To avoid any possible issues, it is a good idea to refrain from disclosing your new relationship through social media or sharing photos of you with your new love interest. You can expect the court to frown upon this until the divorce has been finalized.
Expose Other Parent’s Faults with Mutual Friends
The friends one parent has will likely be the friends both parents share. So you can expect that whatever you tell your mutual friend through social media or in person will likely be shared with the other parent.
When a couple going through a divorce share mutual friends, a lot of “he said/she said” can happen behind the scenes. This is never a good position for friends to be in, so it is a good idea to not express anything at all to those that share a common friendship.
Especially because social media fails to conceal the author’s identity, anything that is publicly shared with one friend, such as a comment on a friend’s photo, immediately exposes that same information to others that can view the photo.
Refusing to Provide Child Support
When you know that you have a court order to pay child support, but you decide to share photos of your new ride or new clothes around the same time that the support is to be made.
When a judge sees your online photos and status updates involving new purchases but no payments of child support, then the parent will be in contempt and possibly arrested for ignoring the court order that is binding through the enforcement act.
Posting Photos of Damage you Cause
When you post photos on social media showing the damage that you caused to property, the court will view this as aggression that has built up over time. Because of this behavior, you may be labeled as threatening.
Denying all Contact with Other Parent
Contact can come in many forms, including contact through social media. When your child has access to social media, they likely have a direct line to make contact with the other parent. However, if you deny your child access to social media, you could be denying them contact with their parents.
Your child needs to have the liberty to make contact with the other parent when they feel like it, as long as the time is appropriate.
Taking the Kids on Trips that the Other Parent is Unaware of
When you post photos of a weekend trip that you took the kids on that are away from home, it may give a bad feeling to the other parent. This can be a bad thing if there is no agreement in the parenting plan about vacations away from the home state.
When a parent does not communicate the whereabouts of the children, then it may be viewed as a kidnapping attempt. This could easily result in stripping of the parent’s rights of visitation or eliminating parenting time. This can be avoided if the other parent is notified well in advance in writing or is included in the parenting plan.
Speak with a Legal Paraprofessional Regarding Social Media
A step that can be taken if you see yourself facing a lengthy legal custody hearing is to contact an experienced divorce paraprofessional at De Novo Law. The team of legal paraprofessionals will be able to concentrate on the case at hand so that you can easily make major decisions concerning custody arrangements.
Call us today at (480) 725-2200 to schedule your consultation.
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