To protect your rights, consult a Dallas child custody attorney to examine whether your use of social media could harm your case. More and more, social media and networking sites – like Facebook, Twitter, and MySpace – are being evaluated by family law courts to assess a parent’s ability to raise their children during a child custody case.
Often, parents do not realize how a seemingly benign post or photo could throw into question their parental rights.
The Best Interests of the Child
In Dallas, the best interest of the child is the basic guideline family courts use to assess and determine primary child custody. When Dallas courts want to determine “best interest” that means they want to find the safest, most stable, nonviolent home for the child.
This means that the Dallas court system will look for any evidence pertaining to:
- any history of physical, sexual, or emotional abuse or neglect;
- the financial status of each parent;
- any substance abuse;
- the child’s previous residence and primary caregiver;
- the emotional bond between parent and child;
- the child’s preference;
- the ability of the parent to meet the child’s special needs; and
- each parent’s physical and mental health.
Beware of Social Networking When Seeking Child Custody
When seeking primary child custody, presenting evidence to prove that you will provide a stable and happy home for your child will be the heart of your case. Gathering any pertinent documents and witness testimony will help you build a solid claim for custody.
Additionally, documenting how your former spouse may not be able to meet the same requirements could aid your cause. Your Dallas child custody attorney can help with this process.
Keep in mind, however, that as you build a strong case your former partner will likely be doing the same. There is no shortage of cautionary tales over the past few years of how a parent’s use of social media has damaged their case and prevented child custody from being awarded. Even innocent photos and postings could be misconstrued and used against you.
It is well-advised to suspend or cancel all your social media sites. If you cannot bring yourself to part with your Facebook account, blog, or Flickr account, follow these guidelines to help you navigate through the age of social media:
- un-friend or remove your former spouse, as well as their friends and family, from all social networking sites;
- be wary of adding new friends to your network unless you can verify with certainty the person is not misrepresenting themselves. Private investigators may pretend to be someone else in order to gain access to your account;
- never write anything negative about your spouse and child, and do not use profane language;
- do not post photos of yourself, your family, or friends doing illegal activities, or anything that could be perceived as unbefitting of a good parent, including drinking and partying;
- don’t update your relationship status to “single” or “in a relationship” if you are dating someone new when you are still legally married, and don’t make any comments about dating;
- refrain from discussing your divorce or child custody case proceedings; and
- ensure you are not tagged in any pictures that could be misconstrued, or ask friends to remove them from their page.
Help from a Dallas Child Custody Attorney
The implications of using social networking websites may be detrimental to your child custody case. At Warren & Migliaccio Attorneys at Law, we can help you fully prepare for your custody dispute and ensure these types of mistakes are avoided. Serving Dallas County since 2006, we will walk you through the family court process and work to protect your parental rights. Call us today at 888-584-9614 to schedule a consultation.