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Resist the Urge to Bash Your Ex through Social Media Accounts

With over 1.15 billion Facebook and 500 million plus Twitter and Google+ users, word gets around fast.  If you want to share vacation photos, brag about the killer dessert you just invented or post a new “selfie” every day of the week, that’s fine.  If you want to bash your ex and criticize his or her parenting skills or say something ill about the judge or others involved with a case, we advise you not to.  All of that mudslinging will see its day in court and to be absolutely honest, it’s one more headache you don’t want to be dealing with during a child custody lawsuit.

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After all, you’re the adult here and it’s your child or children who need to be considered.

So what do you do when you’re so angry you just can’t stand yourself?  Don’t take to the web.  If you pour your heart out and post it to one of your social media accounts, it could very well be used to build a case against you.  A child custody lawyer can ask for a copy of your Facebook, Twitter, and Google+accounts.  Try as you might to deny them, he or she then has the right to file a motion to compel the evidence.  That snarky post can be used to make you look really bad in front of the judge.

One of the simplest ways to avoid this is to remember the old saying, “If you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all.”  As a precautionary measure, you can go ahead and give your lawyer a copy of your social media accounts including all archived information.  Remember that anything you say or do in cyberspace can paint an unfavorable picture of you as a parent.  Drinking with your friends on the weekend is one thing.  Documenting the worst hangover of your life in great detail through social media is something that you should highly consider not doing.

Don’t think you’re being sneaky by changing your settings to private.  Even if the opposing attorney cannot access your social media accounts, he or she will ask about them.  You’ll be required to give specifics about your usage, the types of posts you make, the photos you have online, and who can access your account.  This information, albeit personal, will be permitted in your child custody hearing.

Photos showing off your new duds or the luxury vacation you just took can be proof that you’re hiding assets.  This is especially the case if you claim that you can’t pay child support.  It’s not that your social media accounts should be censored but keep in mind, if you make it available to your family and friends, you’re also making it available to your ex-husband or ex-wife’s attorney.

If you find yourself doubting whether a post is appropriate or not, consider the impact it could make legally.  If you’re still iffy, just don’t do it. Contributor Jeff Landers suggests, “Don’t post, Tweet, or share anything that you wouldn’t say in person to the whole world, to be remembered forever.”  By practicing this rule of thumb and extending to all your electronic communications including texts and emails, you stand a better chance of being awarded custody of your children when fighting for them in court.

About the Author:

David R. Jones is a criminal defense attorney at the Denver and Golden, Colorado-based Law Offices of D.R. Jones. A former Colorado State Public Defender, Mr. Jones earned his law degree from the University of Denver, College of Law and was admitted to the Colorado Bar in 1996. He is a member of the Colorado Criminal Defense Bar, National Association of Trial Advocacy, and is active in community efforts to improve the criminal justice system.

Categories: Child Custody.

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