The launch of a new app called KillSwitch is the most recent option available for those attempting to deal with a breakup in today’s digital world. Specifically, the app will remove an ex’s photos, tags and wall posts from a user’s Facebook timeline. Then the app stores everything in a secret album on the user’s Facebook profile. In addition, the new app has a feature that will “unlike” all status updates made by a user on an ex’s wall – just in case the user wants to get one last parting shot.
But, while removing references to a former significant other is a good start, in the case of married couples who are splitting up it is also important to watch what is posted on social media sites in general during a pending divorce – the wrong post can easily lead to unneeded trouble. For instance, a spur of the moment post or a tagged photo can come back to haunt a person when an ex is arguing for child custody.
Increasing Review of Social Media Posts
Digital posts are increasingly being used as evidence at trial in cases, according to the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers. The association notes that as many as 80 percent of divorce cases involve some type of social media posts; most of which come from Facebook.
In some cases, couples have been ordered to share Facebook passwords and other online accounts. In a Connecticut case, a husband argued that his wife made comments on Facebook that reflected poorly on her ability to care for their children. The wife was ordered to provide passwords for various online accounts, including Facebook and several online dating accounts.
Some posts may sound worse when taken in a different context. Other posts written in the heat of the initial breakup can even undermine a request for custody. When the divorce is pending and temporary orders are in effect, it is a time to monitor social media.
While a divorce is pending, the Judge issues a temporary order regarding child possession, access and visitation rights. In Texas, the presumption is for the appointment of joint managing conservators. This presumption of joint custody is removed by a finding of family violence. Other considerations include:
- Can the parents agree on decisions regarding the welfare of the child?
- Does each parent have a positive relationship with the child?
- Are the emotional, physical and psychological needs of the child met by a joint custody arrangement?
- How close do the parents live?
- For children over the age of 12, what are his or her wishes for a primary residence?
When there is no violence, the temporary order is usually for joint custody, but the allocation of time with the child may vary. While the temporary order is in place, inappropriate social media use might find its way as evidence against you in a final trial.
If you are contemplating divorce, consulting with an attorney to discuss the divorce and child custody process if often a good idea. You may also want to conduct a review of what you have online and whether anything could come up against you in a custody hearing.