The hidden dangers of social media in the context of family law proceedings

People involved in family law proceedings need to be mindful of what posts they publish and pictures they upload on social media sites including Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

The social media age allows people to broadcast and upload pictures of their breakfast, their friends, their activities and effectively their lives. Sometimes the urge to vent our frustrations and problems through the public domain of Facebook is too strong to resist. In the context of family law proceedings partners may post negative comments about their ex-partner, about their inability to care for their children, and even about their intended relocation to another state or maybe even another country. It is becoming all too common that social media is used as a weapon against another party.

People need to understand that what they post online may be used against them in their family law proceedings, even if they have later sought to delete the post or picture. It is becoming more common for social media posts to make their way before the Courts as annexures to Affidavits which are filed in the Court.

This means that your post or picture uploaded could be seen by the other side, an independent children’s lawyer if you are in a parenting dispute, and potentially before family consultants and family report writers.

You may also find yourself in breach of Section 121 of the Family Law Act which prohibits a party from publishing information in relation to family law proceedings in a public forum. Not only will such breach potentially impact the outcome of your family law proceedings but you may be found guilty of an offence which if convicted is punishable by imprisonment.