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Family Law & Social Media


Platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, Linkedin etc allow users to instantaneously publish their activities, thoughts and beliefs at the click of a button. As a result, it has become increasingly common for these posts to end up being used as evidence in court proceedings.

In fact, social media evidence can often be a quick and cost-effective way of providing evidence in support of a disputed fact.

Take for example the employee that calls in sick. They then post on Facebook that they’re enjoying a tropical holiday somewhere. Sipping cocktails on the beach in a bikini certainly contradicts the employee’s email that they’re home in bed with the flu.

Take also for example, the ex that says they can’t afford to pay child support or spousal maintenance or that hasn’t made full frank disclosure of their assets or that doesn’t admit to being re-partnered. It’s going to be hard for the Court to accept their evidence when their Instagram account shows-off flashy engagement rings, declarations of undying love, extensive travel; cars; boats; fine dining; and expensive clothing labels. #liveyourbestlife may ultimately become #thejudgeisnotanidiot

Similarly, the ex that says they haven’t worked in years… only to be brought down by their LinkedIn profile showing their extensive experience in paid employment.
In family law matters, evidence obtained through social media can be particularly relevant in the context of parenting matters where the best interests of the children are the paramount consideration of the court.

Screenshots of posts, comments and messages showing derogatory comments regarding either the children or the other parent may be used as evidence of contravention of parenting orders, or to support a contention that the party posting the material neither comprehends nor is willing to act in a way that is child-focused or appropriate.

Similarly, Instagram, Facebook and Snapchat photographs may reveal the children’s parents to be behaving irresponsibly or neglectfully or otherwise exposing the children to alcohol or drug abuse, or otherwise illegal behaviour.

People also need to be aware that it is an offence under Section 121 of the Family Law Act 1975 to publish by electronic means (or disseminate to the public) anything that would identify a party to the proceedings, a person who the proceedings are related to, or a person associated with the party to proceedings.

This means that a party to family law proceedings, who gives in to an urge to vent about their ex or family law matters on social media, may expose themselves to being charged with an offence under Section 121 of the Family Law Act.

Please remember, social media is not always your friend in family law matters. However, if you are a party that engages in these behaviours on social media, then it may ultimately become the best friend of your ex’s lawyer!

 


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Family Law & Social Media

Platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, Linkedin etc allow users to instantaneously publish their activities, thoughts and beliefs at the click of a button. As a result, it has become increasingly common for these posts to end up being used as evidence in court proceedings. #liveyourbestlife may ultimately become #thejudgeisnotanidiot

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