The power of social media in undeniable. It connects us with old friends, family across the world and keeps us powered through the day with cat memes and doggos. There is a downside.
Increasingly screenshots of Facebook and or Instagram profiles or messages are being used in family law proceedings. Family lawyers obtain information about a party in proceedings or negotiations by examining their social media presence.
That lovely photo of you holidaying at an expensive resort with your new partner, the new Porsche or expensive lunch check-in all paint a picture regarding a party’s finances. The picture of you at that concert of an American pop sweetheart with your child, or them snowboarding down the slope at Perisher all give rise to a submission that the child was not in fact sick and should have been spending time with their other parent pursuant to that Court Order.
The Family Law Act adds another layer of complexity in the form of Section 121. That Section includes identification of parties and descriptions of proceedings on social media sites including Facebook and Twitter. It is quite common for Orders to be made restraining a party’s conduct and is an immensely poor law.
Statements or representations that you make on social media can be used against you and that can have a negative impact on your case.
Here is a handy guide to social media use:
1. Change your privacy settings to the highest level of privacy.
2. Do not use social media to “blow off steam”.
3. Do not mention your Court proceedings or criticise your former partner under any circumstances in these forums. If you are tagged or included in a post from a third party that could be construed as negative or referencing your dispute then untag yourself (and consider what you are telling friends). The golden rule – when in doubt, do not post.
All of this a bit daunting? If you or someone you know is going through a family law dispute and requires assistance, contact one of our family law specialists. Tiyce & Lawyers – we are here when you need us.