My ex’s new wife is obsessed with social media. She posts all day every day on all sites — Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and everything is public.
I am very concerned. First, she is very outspoken about her politics and actively engages people in controversial discussions in very public forums. Second, she posts daily pictures of my children when they are with her. This was not an issue before they married but starting with the wedding ceremony my kids are plastered all over social media.
I’ve had some serious arguments with my ex over my desire for their privacy. He has always been someone to avoid confrontation and thinks I’m overreacting. So I approached her and asked if she would either make her accounts private or stop posting my children on her sites. Shockingly, her response was now that she married my ex they are her children half the time and she has every right to make these decisions.
This is a very serious issue to me — my teenage niece was involved in a very dangerous social media stalking situation last year. Our children are 11 and 13, and I am trying hard to teach them about responsible use of social media and privacy. She is undermining everything. What are my options?
This is likely the opposite of what you want to hear, but the best way to get their attention is to file a complaint for modification seeking a change in the custody arrangement on the basis that if he, through his wife, insists on placing children in a very public forum, he ought to have less time with them. Before filing, take a bunch of screen shots of the public posts you find most troubling so if she suddenly goes private you have proof of what was public. Once you serve the complaint, file a motion for temporary orders asking the court to order that neither party post or knowingly permit anyone else to post photos of or references to your children on public social media sites. Attach the screen shots to the motion as exhibits so the judge understands the reason for your concern.
You cannot ask for orders directly related to her as she is not a party to the case. But, if the order issues against your ex, he will have to police her because he is well aware of what she is doing. If you make the request mutual so it applies to both you and him, it is more likely either your ex will stipulate to the request or the judge will issue an order.
Once you have an order in place, if she behaves, try negotiating a permanent agreement to keep this privacy in place so if she reverts after the case is over, you can file a complaint for contempt. Beware of the potential for backfire if she digs in her heels — a long fight over free speech could ensue.