In the age of Instagram, Snapchat, TikTok and the latest social media stomping-ground ‘Threads’ it’s become second nature to post openly about our lives, families and loved ones.
Navigating social media becomes far more perilous in an acrimonious separation or divorce. Just look at the ill-fated Twitter posts of Kanye West during his much-publicised marriage breakdown with Kim Kardashian to see the havoc that oversharing on social media can have in your legal matters.
Increasingly social media posts are being used in Court to prove – and sometimes disprove – claims people make in legal proceedings. When going online it is important to remember that your posts, and even other posts that you ‘like’ or comment on, may be publicly available. Your online activities can also remain in the public domain and then come back to bite you down the track.
The best approach is to be vigilantly mindful that anything you post online can be used by other people for their own ends. Don’t be fooled into thinking that top notch privacy and security settings are enough to spare you from this risk. Your seemingly innocent or ‘off the cuff’ post may end up arming your ex with evidence to use against you.
Behavioural patterns revealed through your online activities can also become relevant in Court proceedings. For example, too many ‘after work drinks’ might open up the suggestion that you’re not caring for your children as often as the other parent, or worse still, call into question your alcohol consumption.
Your social media posts – and even posts from others where you are identified - could be used as evidence that affects your legal position. For example, those innocent, ‘loved-up’ photos of you and your boo might be used to prove you have entered a new relationship, and this in turn might be taken into account when dividing the property of your former relationship.
Derogatory comments about your ex won’t do you any favours in the eyes of the Court either. Sounding-off about your ex online may be seen as inflammatory and incompatible with maintaining a positive coparenting relationship in the best interests of the children, and could lead to conclusions that are unhelpful to your objectives in parenting proceedings.
Publishing accounts of things that happened in Court, or the details of evidence filed in Court is a hard no-no. Under s 121 of the Family Law Act 1975 (Cth) (Family Law Act), it is a criminal offence punishable by imprisonment to publicly disseminate “any account of any proceedings” that identifies a person involved in those proceedings.
In one case, parties were referred to the police for breach of s 121, in circumstances where videos of the children had been uploaded to social media to fundraise donations for legal fees. In the videos, negative comments about the other parent and step parent were recorded and used against them. This case highlights the importance of keeping your family law matters out of social media.
Take it from us – even if you’re one of the world’s richest and most ‘managed’ music stars in the world, it is a very bad idea to blast your ex on social media or conduct your feud online.
If you’re in doubt about your historic social media use and whether it might be used against you in future, or you have some evidence from online about your ex but you’re unsure how it might apply, having a chat with one of our experienced family lawyers can help. With bucketloads of experience in Family Court cases, we can assist you in understand the risks or rewards of social media evidence. Call one of our expert team on (02) 5114 2660 or reach us as email@example.com .