The Impact Of Social Media In Family Law Disputes
Posted: 17th February 2020
Posted in: News
Posted by: Fiona Browne, Associate
18 million Australians have active social media accounts. That’s 72% of the population. Australians love to share their lives on different social media platforms. It’s not uncommon for people to post revealing information or photographs on these public forums. Have you ever considered how such posts may impact the outcome of your family law matter? The impact of social media in family law disputes is now something that family lawyers raise with their clients at the outset. Our firm even provides written warnings in the first letter outlining our concerns regarding the tendency to “overshare” on social media.
The impact of social media on a future Family Law Dispute is not something contemplated at the time of posting to social media. If we all had the ability to turn back time, there would definitely be things from our youth we would probably remove from social media. Historical social media posts can become an issue in a Family Law Dispute years after they are posted. Even more impactful can be social media interaction during your family law matter. A reactive post can seriously impact the outcome of your matter.
Why Do People Use Social Media?
It is normal to feel overwhelmed, anxious and angry when going through separation or divorce. The process takes a toll on everyone involved. Unfortunately, parties to a family law matter often turn to social media to air their grievances and frustrations. Posting to social media may be the only option they see available to achieve any type of justice or feel that they have a voice.
Unfortunately, depending on what information you share, posting on social media can potentially do more harm than good. It can be used as evidence against you during court proceedings and adversely affect your Family Law matter outcome.
What is the Impact of Social Media In Family Law Disputes: What To Remember
Change Your Passwords
Check your email and computer security. Make sure that your former spouse cannot access social media networks such as Facebook or Instagram. Be aware that most lawyers will Google their own clients and their client’s former spouse as part of their preparations for a family law trial. Make your profile private. Ideally, refrain from making posts or blogs.
Protect Your Location
Consider whether your safety is an issue. Posting on social media can provide information on your whereabouts through the metadata or location data. It poses a great danger, particularly if you are at risk of domestic violence.
Be Mindful Of What You Post
All emails, text messages and is in recent years, social media posts should be written as if they will be reviewed by the Family Court. If your conduct proves damaging to your case, only 20/20 hindsight could have corrected it.
You may need to come before the Family Court, a court of ‘perceptions’. Your behaviour via social media posts may give rise to assumptions of your behaviour during your marriage or relationship. The impact of social media in your Family Law Dispute and how your lifestyle is portrayed on social media can be far-reaching.
Ensure that what you post is always of a tasteful nature. Avoid sharing explicit images and videos. Never post disparaging comments about the judge, the Court and the legal process as this information will be available to the Courts.
Never Post Defamatory Comments About Your Former Partner
Negative comments about your former partner on social media are regularly annexed to affidavits filed in a Family Law parenting matter. Negative social media posts don’t support both parents being able to co-parent the children and support the other parent’s relationship with the children.
Social media is a powerful tool for social networking. It allows users to express themselves and share information with a broader audience. When dealing with Family Law matters, all parties should use it with even more consciousness and caution.
The Impact of Social Media In Family Law Disputes: Think Before You Click
A great rule of thumb is ‘think before you click’. When looking at the impact of social media in your Family Dispute, consider how an objective person who is not familiar with your case or the parties involved will view the post. If emotions are high at the moment, it’s better to rest on the post/comment and decide later if you still want to share it.