We as Family Lawyers are seeing first hand a growing trend in clients who vent their frustrations on social media and then end up in a lot of trouble from the family courts.
In some cases, what appears to be a simple vent or even just a comment on Facebook or Twitter, ends up having devastating and unexpected consequence on the outcome of a court case.
Many people (including heaps of Lawyers) don’t actually realise it is illegal to publish details of family law cases where people or witnesses to the case are identified. This is a huge difference to criminal law cases where you are usually allowed to mention and publish the names of parties and witnesses. If you talk about a family law case online that identifies a party or witness you can be charged with a criminal offence, jailed for up for 12 months and fined $2000!
Making derogatory comments about your partner online can severely harm your case. In a recent matter, a father made several despicable comments about his Wife on Facebook. The Judge said such comments could have easily been seen by the children and because of this – the Father lacked parental judgment. This became a major factor the Judge used in deciding who the children should spend more time with, which ended up being the mother.
In another case a father made comments on Twitter about the use of cocaine and said that he enjoyed it regularly after a big night out drinking. The Judge saw the comments and said that the Father was reckless, immature and made then orders for the Father to not use drugs or alcohol whilst being around his daughter.
Nasty comments on social media have also been used by parties to show family violence and harm. In one case, a Judge read threats made by a husband to his estranged wife and deemed them as being so serious that the father was not allowed to have any contact with his children at all.
Social media has and can be used in positive ways during family law proceedings such as showing a child?s feelings about certain issues. However our advice to clients is usually always do not post anything on social media about your family law matter. Whilst social media is a great platform to vent frustration and share ideas with a whole range of people, it?s a good idea to lock down or take down temporarily your accounts ? at least until your family law court case has been finalised.
Written by Maspero Legal.
A family business on the Northern Beaches with 30 + years local experience, Maspero Legal are available after hours and weekends to meet your busy schedule and can meet anywhere in Sydney.
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