Social media features as a legal tool in more and more family law cases. A decision by a judge in another state to allow a father to use his estranged wife's Facebook page as evidence in a child custody battle may be an indication that state judges, possibly also those in Texas, are recognizing the value of social media in deciding these issues. Information that was previously obtained by private investigators over long periods is now available at a glance on the Internet.
In this case, a 54-year-old father who is fighting to get physical custody of his 4-year-old son, contends that his wife's Facebook page will provide enough proof to substantiate his claim of being the primary caregiver for the child. In considering the best interests of the child, the time each parent spends with the child is important and may influence the ultimate custody ruling of the court. The judge ruled that the information on social media may be relevant to determining the child's best interests.
The public section of the mother's Facebook page apparently shows her in Florence, Italy and eating lobsters and oysters on the Boston waterfront. The judge ordered the mother to provide her Facebook login details by a specific date. This access will allow for an examination of the posts on her private pages as they relate to the pending child custody litigation.
Texas parents who believe their child custody battles may benefit from information that is available on their spouses' social media sites may choose to consult with an experienced child custody attorney. An attorney will be able to assess the circumstances and determine the viability of presenting such evidence. As technology advances, the courts have access to more information to resolve child custody issues. Nevertheless, the principal focus remains on making a ruling that is truly in the best interests of the child involved.
Source: New York Post, "Facebook profile is fair game in custody battle: judge", Julia Marsh, Aug. 25, 2015