Social media and child custody issues

North Carolina parents who are going through a divorce and negotiating child custody matters should be aware of a recent ruling that might set a precedent for the way social media posts are used in custody battles. The ruling involved using a Facebook profile as evidence in a custody dispute.

Courts in custody cases give priority to the best interests of the childĀ and finding out which parent is the primary caretaker is important for judges to decide custody issues. Judges must weigh a variety of factors when trying to figure out what is best for a child after a divorce, including the relationship the child has with both parents.

The recent ruling, issued in the Westchester County Supreme Court in New York, allowed the use of a woman’s Facebook profile as evidence by her ex-husband to show that the woman was not the primary caretaker of their small child. The profile, which included photos of the woman taking a variety of vacations, even as far away as Italy, was submitted by the lawyer representing her ex-husband, who wanted to show the court that he was the actual primary caretaker. The woman had not expected the profile to be allowed as evidenceĀ since it had never before happened in New York, but the judge in the case ruled that the information in the profile was necessary to decide which parent the child spent more time with.

The recent ruling sets a precedent in New York, though most states still do not allow social media to be used as evidence. A family law attorney might explain to a parent who is seeking a modification of an existing custody order the types of evidence that courts will accept.