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Family Law & Social Media

By 22 June 2016Family Law

It is more common these days for people to be living their entire lives online, and for the most part, for the whole world to see. While some feel that this is their right to freedom of expression, it might be making a rod for their back.

Frequently facebook page printouts and other social media printouts become evidence that is shown to the Court in Family Law affidavit material.

It is extremely important to be careful what you post.

Sometimes the most innocent of photographs posted on social media can have a devastating effect on a parenting case. “A picture is worth a thousand words”. Even the most devoted and responsible parent might find themselves on the defensive when shown an unfavorable facebook photo or post. Photos posted on social media in the spur of the moment can confirm the allegations of the other party or can create a negative opinion in the eyes of the Court.

A common example is the accusation that one parent drinks alcohol to excess while the children are in their care. This allegation is normally denied and contested at an interim hearing, with very little independent evidence to sway the Judge either way. However a photograph on Facebook showing one party consuming alcohol at a family party where the children are present, might go a long way to support that allegation at an interim hearing and lead to a Judge to side with one party over the other.

The other practice that people in Family Law situations should avoid is the social media rant. Posting a diatribe about your ex partner on any social media platform will not only inflame the dispute, but you can be sure that it will find its way onto the back of an affidavit and be used to show that you do not have any insight into the dispute and you want to air your dirty laundry in public.

The Court generally takes a dim view of one party making public statements of what should be private matters between the parties. If the content of the post is to do with arrangements for your children or complaints you might have about the other party we recommend against making the post.

If you are thinking about posting family related issues on facebook or social media, just stop and think, “When this is read out in Court, am I going to be entirely proud of what I have written?” If the answer is “no”, then don’t post. If the answer is “no”, then we recommend you resist the temptation to post and discuss it further with your lawyer.

If you are going through a relationship breakdown and need some guidance to navigate your way through please do not hesitate to contact McNamara Law on 13 58 28.