Are you going through a divorce? If your answer is “YES”, then read on. Are there children whose custody must be decided? If your answer is “YES”, then read on. Do you and your spouse have Facebook pages? If the answer is “YES”, then read on.
Facebook and your divorce case don’t mix
“YES” answers to these questions show that you need to understand what Facebook can mean in the divorce process, especially as it relates to custody and visitation decisions. It is a very rare case where both parties come to complete agreement on custody and visitation schedules without any anxiety or animosity between them. In the past, the anxiety and animosity would be communicated to the party’s attorney and then the attorneys would negotiate a resolution. Today, parties are simply (and ill-advisedly) expressing the anxiety, animosity, and anger they feel for each other on Facebook and other social media sites. Instead of talking privately with each other, communication is being reduced to text messages or online posts. Tempers flare, and that gets expressed online where the whole world can see. And if you think you have strong enough privacy settings on your Facebook pages, think again. It isn’t likely that you have blocked out your children. Thus, when your postings go up, and your children see them, serious consequences can follow.
Consider the Best Interests of Your Children
The best practice is to keep your opinions to yourself, and off-line, while the divorce is pending. Atlanta area Judges have the authority, and will exercise it, to order both parents not to communicate through social media for the protection of the children. Judges follow the “best interests of the children” standard in making decisions. Use this to guide anything you post in any online medium. Ask yourself, “How will this effect my child?” Then, even if you think the posting would be understood as positive by your children, don’t post it for at least twenty-four hours. Give yourself a chance to think it through and put the best interests of your children first.
© Joy T. Melton, Hindson & Melton LLC April 24, 2013