If you have had a child with your ex-spouse or ex-partner, one of you may be ordered to pay child support. Both of you can come to an agreement on how much should be paid, or a judge can review the circumstances of your case and determine who will pay and how much.
When child support decisions are left to a state judge, the laws of the state will be utilized. Although a judge can receive ample amounts of guidance through the laws, there is also a great deal of discretion, particularly when it comes to parents who have a high income. It is also becoming increasingly common for a judge to review the social media accounts of each parent to gain a better understanding of their lifestyle and financial situation.
How Social Media Can Be Used to Determine Child Support
Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and SnapChat are popular social media websites that help people to maintain connections and seek entertainment. However, social media sites are also a valuable data-mining tool for various industries, government officials, and legal professionals. In family law, social media content is having real world consequences for parents, children, and other family members involved in a divorce, separation, adoption, and so forth.
The power of social media in the courtroom tends to operate on a subtle level. While it was once mostly used in criminal legal cases, today, many family law cases include social media content. If you are a parent seeking child support or are the parent who is expected to pay support, you should have an understanding of how social media might affect your case.
How Social Media Is Being Used in Family Law Cases
In a high profile legal case, investigators sought a warrant to review posts on Facebook that belonged to a Hollywood based personal trainer. They alleged that the trainer had failed to pay over $100,000 in child support. The investigators were able to track the trainers’ location, reviewed posts and messages. They were able to ask the judge to garnish the trainers’ wages, in addition to filing criminal charges.
Although this case was of a unique nature, it is a good example of how social media can affect child support cases. As child support lawyers, we know of several hundred cases that have involved social media.
You might wonder what information could be used in a family law case, such as a child support matter? Social media sites can provide communications, the individuals location at any given time, specific actions of the individual, and even their current state of mind. All of these details can help a judge to determine a fair amount of child support that should be paid; however, it can also filter into other areas of family law matters.
In another famous case, a father was awarded custody after claiming the mother failed to properly care for their children. The father used content posted on Facebook which suggested she spent a majority of her day playing Farmville and other games, even during times when she should have been taking her children to school.
Be Mindful of What You Post
As a child support lawyer might tell you, anything you post on social media websites could be used against you in a family law case. It is recommended that you are careful about what you post, as well as what your friends post about you. Even something that might seem harmless could be taken out of context. You should protect yourself online, and you should also have a good child support lawyer who can help you – even use social media to protect your rights and interests. For the right lawyer, like a family lawyer from the Law Office of Daniel Wright, call a law firm.