As a follow up to our June 30, 2010 and July 8, 2010 blogs on Facebook evidence in Maryland family law proceedings, we have compiled a top five do’s and don’ts for Facebook for parents in the midst of custody litigation.
1. Do disable your Facebook account. If you can’t bring yourself to do it, make your presence on Facebook as minimal as possible, and we mean minimal.
2. Do set your Facebook page to private so only those who are your friends can view your page, and while you are at it do a “spring cleaning” of your friend list, eliminating those who are unnecessary. Friends should only be those who have no connection with your ex or your ex’s family and/or friends. You never know who is viewing/printing information from your account and passing it along.
3. Do eliminate all photographs, wall posts, information that could be damaging to your matter, such as posts or photographs related to illegal substances, partying, unsuitable living conditions, boasting, and/or unemployment. In other words, eliminate all posts or photographs that you would not want a Judge to see.
4. Do NOT post pictures of your child doing anything that could be considered inappropriate. Do not let others post anything inapporpriate of your child either.
We recently had a case where the grandmother had a photograph posted of her grandchild (the child who was the subject of the custody dispute) sipping an alcoholic beverage. Needless to say the Judge was not amused.
5. DO NOT post status updates or wall posts regarding your ex or your kids, whether it has to do with your ongoing custody battle, or your most recent exchange of a child. During a protective order hearing I recently tried, the Judge found a parent’s posting of “I’m going to take you down” was enough of a threat to grant a final protective order. In other words, keep your custody battle off of Facebook! In addition, urge your mother, brother, friends, and next door neighbors to keep any and all posts regarding your ex off of Facebook.