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Social Media and Its Impact on Child Custody Cases

Gordon Burrows

A New York-based attorney with over three decades of experience, Gordon Burrows has practiced law in White Plains since 2004. Focused on matrimonial and family law, Gordon Burrows handles cases involving divorce as well as child custody and support matters.

With many people sharing their thoughts, feelings, and daily activities on social media today, posts on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and other sites often find their way into child custody cases. While little thought may go into creating these posts, such digitized quips can be used as potentially damaging evidence in family court.

One of the most common mistakes that parents make in the midst of a custody battle is to use social media to vent their frustrations against the other parent or even the attorneys and judges involved in the case. Many times, this information is viewed as public knowledge and can be used as evidence to determine a parent’s maturity and willingness to support the other parent’s relationship with their children.

Social media posts that depict a parent as irresponsible or unable to properly care for their child can also affect a judge’s decision in a child custody dispute. Because social media activity can potentially be used to determine parental fitness and character, many attorneys advise clients to be very careful with posts or avoid social media altogether during a custody case. Additionally, some family law firms now ask clients to complete a social media worksheet to help them identify potential problems.