Be Careful What You Post Online During Your Family Law Case

Be Careful What You Post Online During Your Family Law Case

Be Careful What You Post Online During Your Family Law Case

Posted in Divorce, Family Law
by Justin Van Den Heuvel

We live in an increasingly open culture in which we are encouraged by social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter to share the intimate details of our lives online for our friends to see. Some people may even find it cathartic to post details about a stressful event online and to receive comments and feedback from their friends. During a divorce or child custody proceeding, however, posting certain details or statements online can not only land you in hot water with the court, but it can also negatively impact your case’s prospects for success.

Assume Everything You Post Online Can Be Seen by Everyone

Most individuals who get into trouble for their use of social media during their family law cases assume that the post they made would only be seen by a few individuals – certainly not by the court or by the other party. But you should expect that even your “private” or “friends-only” posts will somehow make their way to the attention of the other party. Your privacy settings may not have been updated to exclude the other party from receiving notification of your posts, or a mutual friend of you and the other party can easily pass a negative post along to him or her.

How Posts Can Negatively Affect Your Child Custody Battle

When determining child custody issues, Michigan courts consider what is in the best interest of the child. The court will examine the parents’ ability to be good and wholesome influences on the child as well as each parent’s’ willingness to help foster a relationship between the child and the other parent. Social media posts that are disparaging about the other parent may cause the court to question your ability and desire to parent your child cooperatively with the other parent. Likewise, posts about alcohol use, drug use, partying, and other irresponsible behavior – especially if the posts are made while the child is supposed to be in your custody – can be weighed against you when the court considers the child’s best interest.

How Posts Can Negatively Affect Your Divorce Battle

In a divorce proceeding, one of the most important jobs of the court is to divide the marital property in a fair and equitable manner, taking into consideration the financial situations of each spouse. Alimony or spousal support can also be awarded if the court finds that one spouse has a financial need for such support. Bragging online about how you are going to “clean out” your spouse or “take him/her for all he/she is worth” can suggest to the court that your proposed division of property or request for alimony is being requested out of a vindictive motive, not because such a division or award is fair or needed.

Of course, you should never post disparaging remarks about the judge assigned to your case or about the court itself.

Work with an Experienced Michigan Child Custody Attorney

There are other guidelines about what should and should not be posted online during the pendency of your family law dispute. At the Van Den Heuvel Law Office, we partner with our clients and help guide their actions during the pendency of their cases so as to assure them of the greatest opportunity for obtaining a successful resolution. Learn how we can assist you in your domestic law case by contacting our team of experienced and dedicated Grand Rapids family law attorneys at (616) 698-0000.



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