The rise of social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter have allowed people to share personal information and connect with friends and family. However, social media has also raised significant challenges, particularly in the realm of family law. Indeed, the use of social media during a family law dispute can impact a person’s credibility, the outcome of their case or even lead to a prison sentence. In this blog, we will discuss how social media can impact your family law case. We will also provide our recommendations on how to avoid family law disputes which involve social media.
How social media can impact your case
If you are a social media user and you are amid a family law dispute, it is important to be mindful that:
- Publishing content which identifies a party, child or witness to a proceeding is a violation of 121 of the Family Law Act 1975 (Cth) and could lead to up to 12 months imprisonment; and
- Posts, photos, videos, and messages shared on social media can be used as evidence in Court in divorce, property, parenting, spousal maintenance, and child support cases.
The following factors could also jeopardise your family law case:
- Sharing private and confidential information about yourself, your spouse, your child, or your Court case;
- Posting content that discloses antisocial behaviour such as drinking or using illicit drugs, or engaging in risky behaviour or neglectful parenting: especially if your case involves children;
- Sharing information about a lavish lifestyle, your employment history or business ownership: especially if your case involves property, child support or spousal maintenance;
- Making threats of violence or admissions of previous violence: especially if your case involves children or intervention orders;
- Sharing material which alludes to criminal activity;
- Sharing proactive photos of yourself or your ex-partner online; and
- Sharing screenshots of private messages.
How to avoid family law disputes that involve social media
To avoid family law disputes that involve social media, we recommend that social media users take the following precautions:
- Do not post any private information about yourself, your children, your spouse, or your Court case;
- If in doubt about whether a post or message could cause problems for your case, then consider whether you would want a judge to view your post or message or speak to you lawyer;
- If you are using social media to gather evidence, make sure you take screenshots and save the files but keep in mind that not all evidence will be admissible in Court;
- Be cautious about deleting any posts or messages as it might be considered tampering with evidence. If in doubt about deleting a post or message then speak with your lawyer;
- If you believe there is a risk your ex-partner might try to access your social media accounts then update your passwords; and
- Consider pausing your social media accounts until your Court case is finalised.
Social media is a double-edged sword. While it can be problematic for your case, it can also be used to bolster your case. Consulting with experienced family lawyer who understand the nuances of digital evidence is crucial in achieving fair and just outcomes in family law cases in the digital age.
To arrange your free initial consultation with a specialist Family Lawyer at Pearsons Lawyers contact us today or call 1300 699 688 and know where you stand.