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Child custody: avoiding oversharing about kids on social media sites

Photo-sharing on Facebook and other social media websites has transformed the way many Americans share their lives. Much of the time, it can be a wonderful thing, to post pictures of your kids and enjoy the affirming responses of your online friends.

But what happens when you go through a divorce and suddenly you find your ex putting up pictures of your kids you don't approve of? In one recent case in Missouri, for example, a man included pictures of the kids from his first marriage on his online dating profile on Match.com.

No one should be any illusions about controlling what an ex-spouse can post online about himself or herself. But couples with kids who are getting divorced may want to consider whether guidelines for the use of their children's images online should be included in the child custody agreement.

Discretion in online sharing isn't only a safeguard for the interest of the child. It can be a safeguard for parents as well. If a parent going through a divorce limits or even shuts down participation in social media sites, the other party will be equally limited from using unconsidered status updates or inappropriate pictures as evidence in divorce litigation.

This doesn't mean you have to "go dark" on Facebook in order to protect yourself from an ex-spouse. But when it comes to your kids, you may want to develop parameters with your ex about who will able to access which types of information.

For example, it is quite possible that a couple could agree to keep pictures of their children off of Facebook until the kids reach a certain age.

Our firm handles situations similar to those in this post. To learn more about our practice, please visit our Rockford child custody page.

1 Comment

It's amazing how much social media is being used in family law. In Australia, it's estimated that photos/comments from social media are being used to discredit people in 20% of Family Court proceedings. In the UK, a spouse’s behaviour on Facebook is now cited in a third of UK divorces in which unreasonable behaviour was a factor. Unfortunately, social media's impact on family law does not stop there - as it’s also now a major tool for divorce-related bullying (e.g. continuing communication, posting nasty messages, hacking accounts, etc).

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