Social Media’s Impact on Divorce, Paternity and Child Custody

Texting at Night by Becca Tapert

We are living in a world which some consider to be consumed by social media. With sites like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, social media platforms have invaded every aspect of our lives. Once considered to be used exclusively by the younger generation, the older generation is now online and using social media for a variety of reasons, not all of which are good. A growing number of Oklahomans are wondering what impact social media has on their legal affairs. Here’s more on how social media usage can affect your divorce, paternity, or child custody case, and what you can do to protect your interests from any potential negative influence that social media might cause.

Social Media and Divorce

While often being construed as the catalyst for a divorce, social media usage can also influence your divorce proceedings if you have already filed for it. Uncontested divorces are universally preferred over contested ones. Because of this, any inflammatory or antagonistic social media posts towards your spouse might result in your once amicable divorce turning into a bitter, lengthy, and expensive battle.

Some social media platforms have a section for current relationship status. While you may see it as harmless, changing that status at the wrong time could result in making your spouse angry. Because of this, you should not post anything concerning your divorce on social media especially when you are in the middle of your divorce proceedings.

Divorce also entails a division of your marital property. Posting pictures in which you are flaunting wealth, or a lavish lifestyle might not serve you well at all when it comes time to split up those assets. You could avoid this calamity by taking a break and temporarily deactivating your social media account altogether – at least until your divorce is finalized.

Social Media and Paternity

An individual can establish paternity in a number of ways. The most common way is through acknowledgment of the birth certificate. But if paternity is in doubt, the court may need to intervene to establish it through genetic testing or by other means. For those currently involved in paternity actions, social media may play a vital role. Specifically, courts have the power to assign paternity to an individual who holds themselves out as the father of the child at issue. For this reason, opposing parties could use a potential father’s social media account as evidence to construe that person as being the child’s father. The Court could then find that person to be the child’s father.

Social Media and Child Custody

The most common way social media is used in connection with domestic relations proceedings is in child custody cases. Not surprisingly, contested child custody cases can be quite contentious. While the court considers a variety of factors in deciding child custody cases, these proceedings often allow social media postings and pictures to be used as evidence of a parent’s fitness. Photos of a parent abusing drugs or alcohol are often used to cast that parent in a poor light.

Relatedly, bashing the other parent on social media can be used against an offending parent. For this reason, you should resist posting anything concerning your custody case or legal affairs especially while they are still ongoing. Posting anything negative about your child’s parent at any time could be used against you when you least expect it.

Additional Thoughts

Social media can be a great tool for connecting with others. However, the only way to completely insulate yourself from social media’s negative effects is to simply refrain from posting anything that could be construed as inflammatory or inappropriate. None of us can predict the future, so be mindful that what you post on social media can affect your relationships and your custody rights.

Naidu Law is a premier family law firm that has helped countless clients from all walks of life with matters including divorce, child custody, child support, and more. Backed by more than four decades of experience, Naidu Law has been recognized as one of the best divorce law firms in Oklahoma. The firm strives to obtain the best results for clients and to provide quality services at a reasonable cost. Contact the knowledgeable attorneys at Naidu Law by calling (405) 792-2400 or by contacting us online today.