A recent ruling concerning the use of social media within a custody dispute has set legal precedent in one state. Parents in Colorado and elsewhere are aware that social media can come into play within a divorce or child custody case, but states vary on whether information gleaned from those accounts can be used as evidence in court. In this case, one parent is asking the court to review the other’s Facebook profile in order to determine how much time was spent away from the shared child.
Both parents are claiming that they provide the bulk of care for their shared 4-year-old son. However, the child’s father claims that the mother has spent a significant portion of time traveling, leaving the boy in his care. Within her Facebook profile, she can be seen in cities across the nation, and in international destinations.
In arguing against allowing her Facebook account to be used as evidence, the mother’s attorney asserted that the information contained within that account should be considered private. It is also noted that the father was not among her list of online “friends.” In other family court cases, the use of social media accounts or postings as evidence has not been allowed. In this case, however, the judge ruled that the information held within the account could be relevant, and has ordered the mother to turn over her login information.
As more and more people turn to social media to connect with others and share information, the content of those sites will become a focus within child custody and divorce cases. Courts are beginning to recognize the resource that social media provides in terms of evidence, as shown in this recent ruling. It is vitally important that parents in Colorado and across the nation understand the risk inherent in using social media, and that they think very carefully about what information to share and what to withhold.
Source: techtimes.com, “NY Judge Orders Facebook Profile Can Be Used In Custody Battle“, James Geddes, Aug. 25, 2015