With the touch of a button or a single swipe, smartphones have paved the way for nearly any information to be available right at our fingertips. Nearly everyone has a smartphone these days and the average person uses it multiple times per day. In fact, the average person spends 4.3 hours on their phone per day…that’s nearly a quarter of their time spent awake.
While some of us use our cell phones to gain information like reading daily headlines, checking scores, or researching something for work, a majority spend some of that 4.3 hours a day on social media or sending text messages to friends and family. However we use our phones, we love that we can instantly be connected to our loved ones in a matter of seconds.
Using a cell phone to stay connected these days is mainstream, however, you’ll want to be cautious when it comes to what you share online or send via text message if you’re involved in an active family law matter (and even beyond). Why? Keep reading to learn how social media and text messages can impact your family law case.
They can Negatively Impact Your Amicable Divorce
Most people going through a divorce have the desire for it to be amicable. Getting along with your spouse and staying civil throughout the entire divorce process can make it much easier for everyone involved. Divorcing is hard enough and having a poor relationship with the other person only adds to the stress.
Odds are you will become frustrated with your spouse in some capacity during the divorce process, even if you’ve chosen to remain civil and respect each other. While it may be convenient to reach for your phone and send them a quick text when you’re frustrated or vent while you update your Facebook status, it can have a major impact on your divorce case.
Children can also be affected if you post negatively about their parent on social media. Many children have social media profiles these days and, if you’re lucky, then they’ve accepted your friend request or follow. If you post something negative about your ex on social media, your children may be able to see the post or comment. The last thing a child needs during the divorce process is to see their parents arguing or talking negatively about one another. Your posts can fill their mind with negative thoughts about their parent, impacting their relationship. Their friends and friends’ parents may also see the post or comment, which could further complicate relationships (both yours and the children’s).
Alimony/Spousal Maintenance & Child Support
When you go through the divorce process or other family law matter that involves child support, you’ll need to hand over bank statements, W-2s or pay stubs, tax returns, mortgage statements, and any other important financial documents. These statements prove how much money each party makes in addition to how much they spent or saved throughout their marriage. These documents will help a judge to determine alimony/spousal maintenance and child support orders.
Believe it or not, social media is often a handy tool for deceitful parties during the divorce process. If one of the parties turns in false documents or says they can’t afford to make certain payments, social media can be a great tool to disprove this information. If they’re posting about lavish vacations or fancy dinners then this information can be used to prove that they do have the extra wiggle room to afford certain payments.
Child Custody Arrangements
When two people who share a child together decide to co-parent, the relationship they desire to have is usually amicable and business-like for the best interest of the children. Oftentimes they don’t interact unless it relates to their children, like upcoming doctor’s appointments, vacations, or parent-teacher conferences. However, some co-parents don’t always have an amicable relationship and can sometimes get into heated discussions where, if via text message or social media, they can send some threatening messages to one another. Threatening text messages or social media posts or direct messages can be used as evidence against the other party and a judge may rule for that parent to have less time with their children.
Likewise, when a parent posts about certain things on social media, these posts can be used against them when it comes to determining child custody arrangements or visitation. One social media post about excessive drinking, drugs, guns, or violence are huge red flags that can impact custody and visitation. Because child custody and visitation arrangements are determined by a judge keeping the children’s best interest in mind, posts that indicate the parent is dangerous or irresponsible can result in less time with their children.
While social media and text messages are both convenient and a direct line to our loved ones, they shouldn’t be used negatively. Sending your spouse a threatening message or posting a status update that includes photos or threats about imposing violence on someone can all impact your family law case. Keep in mind that social media and text messages can be used against anyone, not just those with a criminal past. Be smart when it comes to what you share on social media or send via text when you’re frustrated with your co-parent or spouse.
If you’re looking for a family law attorney in Lee’s Summit or a child custody attorney in Kansas City, contact The Law Office of Young, Kuhl & Frick, LLC. With over fifty-three years of combined legal experience, our family law firm is comprised of a team that’s skilled in both negotiation and litigation, handling family law matters from the most complex to the most straightforward.
We have offices in Lee’s Summit, Missouri, and Leawood, Kansas (consultations by appointment only). In addition to our two physical locations, our firm’s family and divorce attorneys have practiced in Jackson, Clay, Cass, Lafayette, and Platte County, Missouri as well as Johnson County, Kansas.