Pennsylvania parents may be interested to learn that a judge has ruled in one child custody case that Facebook posts can be used as evidence. The New York judge agreed that a man can use his ex-wife's Facebook posts to demonstrate that while she has been on vacation in places such as Boston and Italy, he has been the primary caregiver for the child.
The mother has until mid-September to turn over login information to her Facebook account. Reportedly, she did not think that her Facebook postings would be used because she had unfriended her ex-husband. It is also the first time in New York that a court has ruled that social media postings can be used in such a way. Other states do not permit it either, although in Minnesota, it has been allowed in certain circumstances.
However, there is speculation that social media postings will start to be used in more cases like this one as courts increasingly recognize the value of the information that can be gleaned from these accounts. The New York case sets a legal precedent.
Individuals who are involved in custody disputes may wish to use any tools at their disposal in order to present necessary evidence. Although this case happened in New York and not Pennsylvania, an individual may wish to speak to their attorney about whether it might be allowed in their case. In child custody and visitation cases, a judge will make a decision based on the best interests of the child, and if posts on social media can indicate that a parent is absent, abusive or unsuitable in some other way, it might be possible to bring that information into court. If social media is not permitted, an attorney may be able to work with an individual to obtain evidence in some other way.