There are many ways social media could complicate your child custody case. Posting online may feel like therapy, but it isn’t and it can only make things worse. If you’re in the midst of a serious legal matter such as a child custody case, it’s best to log off. We are family law attorneys in Washington State and we advise against doing anything that Kanye West would do.
But perhaps you can’t help it or have already posted online about an ongoing legal matter. If that’s the case, here are some things you need to know.
The internet never forgets
If you’re thinking of venting against your ex-spouse on Facebook because things didn’t go your way in your child-custody hearing, don’t!
If you do, there’s always a chance that several of your friends or followers are your ex’s friends who may take screenshots of your post. These screenshots could then be used against you to prove that you’re an unfit parent. And it’s not just your posts — your likes, comments, shares, etc. can also be used against you.
A great example of what not to do on social media while dealing with a family law matter is launching a tirade against your ex on Instagram. This is exactly what Kanye West, who's in the middle of a child custody battle with his ex-wife Kim Kardashian, has done. A few months ago, West went on Instagram to berate Kim for allowing their eight-year-old daughter to have a TikTok account. He even asked his followers what he should do about it.
Ye (as he is called nowadays) deleted the posts, but his online rants will live forever on the internet. These posts can jeopardize his chances of getting a favorable outcome from the case, as courts generally disapprove of parents litigating their ongoing divorce or child custody case in the press, i.e., in public forums.
The only people who benefit from Ye’s actions are newsrooms and celebrity gossip sites, which are all kept riveted by his relentless ranting.
Instagram is the enemy (of many divorcees)
What do Jason Momoa, Ben Affleck, and Ryan Phillippe have in common?
They’re all divorcees who are peacefully co-parenting with their ex-wives.
We bet one of the main reasons they are co-parenting harmoniously with their exes is that they don’t discuss the details of their divorce and custody case on Instagram — unlike Kanye West, who has made Instagram and other social media platforms his diary that the whole world can read.
When going through a divorce and/or a high-conflict custody battle, staying off social media is one of the best decisions you’ll ever make — it’s also what’s best for the children.
If you must post, post sparingly
Instagram has also not been kind to Britney Spears, who’s had a years-long child custody battle with her ex-husband. The pop princess’s presence on the photo and video sharing platform continues to pose problems for her, mainly because her family and the general public take issue with the nature of her Instagram content.
On one hand, Britney is a 40-year-old woman who should be allowed to do whatever she wants to do, including post on Instagram, especially since she was only recently freed from a conservatorship that prevented her from doing that and many other things. On the other hand, her public posts are giving her deadbeat ex Kevin Federline ammo to, allegedly, turn her children against her.
The good news for Britney is that it won’t be very long until she ceases giving monthly child support payments to her ex-husband when their children Sean Preston (17) and Jayden James (16) turn 18 in September 2023 and September 2024, respectively.
Never let your kids do a TikTok challenge to the sound of you and your spouse arguing
Chances are, your teens have an account on TikTok or whatever social media platform kids use these days. In any case, if they’re using these platforms unsupervised, their activities (posts, comments, and likes) may be used as evidence in a child custody case. The court may review children’s social media posts about their parents’ divorce, their relationship with their parents, and their thoughts about the custody case.
Nevertheless, it’s just wrong to weaponize kids’ posts against the other parent. This is something Kanye and K-Fed would do, so we highly advise against it.
Related reading: A guide to announcing your divorce on social media
Feel like writing a long, heartfelt rant about your child custody case and posting it on Facebook? Here’s some advice: don’t. Talk to a family law attorney instead. Buckingham, LaGrandeur, & Williams is the team to consult for your child custody case in Washington State. Leave us a message.