by Jonathan C. Noble, Esq. 3 minute read
Use Social Media With Extreme Caution During Your Child Support or Child Custody Matter
Snapchat, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other social media platforms are fertile grounds for family law attorneys to gather evidence in support or custody cases. Skilled attorneys can navigate the Pennsylvania Rules of Evidence to get the social media postings authenticated, and admitted in evidence.
Heavy Drinking, Drug Abuse, and Reckless Behavior Should Not Be Undertaken and Then Documented on Social Media if you are in a Custody Battle.
I recently represented a father in a high conflict child custody case. The mother had dozens of postings on her social media profiles proudly displaying her hard partying, illicit drug taking, intoxicated lifestyle. In nearly every photo she posted on her social media accounts, this mother was holding a beer can, or a shot glass, or a marijuana pipe, and she always appeared impaired and disheveled. The young child who was the subject of this custody dispute also appeared in many of the mother’s social media postings.
A good lawyer will have relevant social media postings admitted in evidence at trial.
I properly authenticated every single social media posting of the mother that my client obtained off of the mother’s social media accounts. Every piece of evidence was admitted in evidence. Needless to say, I was able to secure a great result for the father. Pictures don’t lie. Especially when you have dozens of pictures, all with the common feature of mother’s frequent heavy drinking, and frequent heavy cannabis use, while she had physical custody of the young child. In the days before social media, obtaining this type and quantity of evidence would have been much more difficult, if not impossible. I am amazed that some people have no idea how they continue to doom their own child custody case via their use of social media.
Evidence From Social Media May Be Used in Spousal and Child Support Cases
In recent years, evidence retrieved from social media platforms has been used by savvy attorneys to support allegations of hidden assets or the underreporting of income. Social media postings by litigants in support cases who post details of frequent exotic trips, and their fancy new six-figure automobiles, can and do work against certain litigants in a support case. I am amazed how often litigants unthinkingly post photos of their new exotic sports cars, and expensive trips (often with their new paramour), even though they have a pending, hotly contested, support case where they claim an income that cannot possibly support such a lifestyle.
For some reason, certain family law litigants seem to create problems for themselves by making bad decisions, being reckless, then documenting their recklessness on social media platforms for the whole world to see and discover.
Always try to think things through, with a clear head, and make good decisions that will impact your family law case in a positive manner.
Feel free to contact my office at 610 256 4843 to schedule a consultation about your family law matter.
I look forward to hearing from you.