Social media is a big part of most of our lives in today’s world. It also has made its appearance and uses in the family courtroom. Any content you post on any social networking platform, including Facebook, Instagram, and many more, can be used as evidence in child custody cases and almost all types of family law litigation.
Digital evidence is now a reliable way for your spouse or you to support their case in child custody and even general divorce matters.
Each custody case, and divorce, is different, but here are three examples of how social media can affect your custody case in Texas.
- Social media postings are often utilized to assist the Texas court in determining which parent will receive custody and visitation time. Social media often proves that one parent is not doing what they are supposed to do and is not, therefore, a dependable parent. If any content you post on any platform shows violent or irresponsible behavior, the Harris County court may deny you the right to custody or visitation. Photos of you partying, displaying guns, or drugs would make you look like you cannot care for your child and provide a safe environment.
- After your divorce, one parent may be required to make payments or alimony to their ex-spouse. Evidence gleaned from social media could be used to determine the amount of spousal support and child support you may have to pay. If your spouse claims not to have the means to pay support, social media posts could prove the contrary. Posts and photos about vacations, expensive purchases, lavish parties, or luxury cars can be used as proof of determining the amount of financial support required.
- Divorce, custody, and visitation discussions do not have to be contentious, confrontational situations. However, your online activities can make it difficult for some couples to achieve this objective. If one spouse starts posting about a new relationship or speaks negatively about the other on social media, this can lead to retaliation in divorce. This stressful attitude helps no one involved.
It’s vital to note that the Texas courts always attempt to give the children the best they can, and your child’s safety always comes first.
If you are involved in a custody case and consider that your social media postings could harm you, discuss the issue thoroughly with an experienced Bellaire family lawyer and get ahead of this possibly disastrous issue.
What Does the Texas Family Court Use To Make Decisions in Child Custody Issues?
Texas laws concerning child custody, conservatorship, and visitation are detailed and stringent. Though there are many different provisions in these laws, the consistent theme is that any custody or visitation decisions must be made in your child’s best interests. Though there is no legal definition available for what the legal standard of “best interests of the child” means, numerous precedents in family court cases have detailed factors commonly considered by judges making these decisions over the years.
These may include, but are not limited to:
- Age and health of your child or children.
- Age and health of you and your spouse (or a non-parent conservator involved in the issue).
- Any special needs of the involved parties.
- Stability of the overall home environment of your child.
- Your child’s relationship with siblings or family members (and how the judge’s decision would impact these relations).
- Preference of the child themselves if they are old enough to express a preference.
- Any history of domestic violence in your home.
- Social media may pertain to the character or ability of the parent to care for the child and much more.
So, you see that the custody issue itself is a complicated and complex matter, and social media can increase or decrease your chances of winning your case. Your best path to follow is to consult immediately with a competent, empathetic Bellaire family lawyer that will navigate this entirely serious and complex issue.
Other Aspects of Social Media and Child Custody Issues.
There are many social media platforms that you may use to post pictures, videos, and comments regarding various aspects of your life. More than ever, the Texas courts have used information taken from social media and used it as evidence in child custody cases.
As many others do, you may use social media as a sounding board or platform to vent when you are stressed, and what you may believe is a harmless post may negatively impact your parental rights.
For example, suppose a person states that they have been drinking excessively due to stress or engaging in careless behavior. In that case, the person’s co-parent may introduce the post as evidence that the person is unstable.
The impact of information collected on social media is now being used extensively in divorce, visitation, and custody cases. Discuss, and show your family lawyer all your posts, and their legal advice will be invaluable in making sure social media doesn’t work against you.
What Are Some Examples of Types of Negative Social Media Posts?
Social Media commonly affects every aspect of our lives. It may connect you but also open doors to your mental health, affecting whether you get or remain in a job, go to college, obtain a good income, etc. All aspects of your life can be negatively impacted, and it’s important to remember that child custody is one of them.
This means that at any point during your custody case, it can be used against you.
The following are just a few examples of what you should avoid posting:
- Late Nights and Excessive Drinking
- Any signs of Infidelity or promiscuity.
- Deleting Anything that you may have had on your posts, as it may seem deceptive.
It’s mandatory to remember to think before you post! If you have questions about your child custody case or what can be used against you during the proceedings, consult immediately with your professional, experienced Bellaire Family Law Firm and get the answers you need.
I Believe My Social Media May Affect My Custody Case; How Should I Proceed?
To summarize, most Texas judges are accepting of your posts being printed out and admitted as solid evidence. Your posts can be used against you in a custody case. Discuss your social media posts openly with your Bellaire Family Law Firm, and they will fight to mitigate or dismiss any negative social media.