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06 November 2014

Facebook and Family Law

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Ever woken up the day after a night out and thought “did I really do that?” or worse still had to check you fb to find out what you did last night?

It is now commonplace for fb statuses and pictures posted by litigants in family law matters to end up annexed to affidavit material and used as evidence of various matters such as the other party’s whereabouts on a particular day or their ability (or lack thereof) to promote a relationship between a child and the other party.

It’s hard to argue you have the capacity to promote the relationship between a child and the other parent when you publicly denounce the other parent on social media. It’s even harder to argue that you are acting in a child’s best interests if your child is your fb friend and privy to your denigration of the other parent.

Privacy, access and publication issues may also become relevant.  It is an offence under the Telecommunication Act (Cth) to access someone’s fb account without their consent. Also, publication of family law related matters on your fb account may offend Section 121 of the Family Law Act (Cth) which makes it an offence to publish anything that identifies the parties, the children, or witnesses involved in family law proceedings.

So the moral is, if you think a night out may lead to you dancing on the table and drunk posting statuses about your former partner or anyone else involved in family law proceedings: –

1.  Think before you post. If you wouldn’t want a judge to read the post don’t post it;

2.  Review you fb friends list. People who were once fb ‘friends’ may not be friends after a split;

3.  Change your passwords on your social media accounts as your former partner may have access to them;

4.  Learn how to use your fb privacy settings. You can prevent well-meaning friend tagging you in a drunken table dance by going to ‘settings’ then ‘timeline and tagging’ and select ‘only me’.

5.  Learn how to take a screen shot…..your ex may not have read this blog.

If you need more information or assistance contact one of our family law specialists.

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