Supreme Court Justice Lawrence Ecker sitting in Westchester County recently ordered a wife in a custody dispute to turn over four years worth of her Facebook postings. The purpose of turning over the documents was to determine how much time she had spent with her child during the prior four years. Justice Ecker took this action because the wife had frequently traveled related to her employment. She had been traveling ever since the child was born about four years ago. Her Facebook postings and photos documented her travels and they could be utilized to determine whether she had been the primary caretaker of her child. Justice Ecker wrote in his decision “the court finds that the time spent by the parties with the child may be relevant and material to its ultimate determination of custody.”
The child’s father had requested the information because the wife had “unfriended” him from her Facebook account. The wife objected to the release of this information. She claimed it was a breach of privacy. Judge Ecker in his decision in A.D. v. C.A. cited the case of Abrams v. Pencile, 83 A.D.3d 527 (1st Dept. 2011) which stated “a party demanding access to social networking accounts must demonstrate that the request will lead to the disclosure of relevant evidence.”
Many people discuss their daily activities on various social media websites. More often the material on these websites are becoming relevant in matrimonial and family law cases. What you post on the internet may not be considered private!