Facebook Fury – Why venting on Social Media will ultimately turn against you

merridy elphick lawyers

Facebook Fury – Why venting on Social Media will ultimately turn against you

Angry shots and barbs posted online often become grist for the mill of the Family Courts.

Social media content is often submitted as evidence to the Court if it calls into question a party’s integrity, character, or child focused approach to co-parenting. It is important to be careful about what you post online about your ex-spouse because, as is increasingly evident in Family Law proceedings, what you post online about your ex-spouse or the case can be used against you.

If an ex-partner threatens to use incriminating evidence in an attempt to get their desired outcome, or merely for revenge their actions can amount to family violence under section 4AA of the Family Law Act. Family Violence includes actions which are physically, emotionally, verbally, socially or financially abusive.

With the increased use of social media, the Courts understanding of the means by which abuse can occur has expanded.  Actions which constitute as revenge porn are just one dramatic example of the Courts willingness to consider an individual’s online activity.  Revenge porn is a criminal offence in NSW under the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW).

Section 121 of the Family Law Act prevents parties to proceedings from publishing information about the proceedings which identifies any party or their witnesses.

The following are some examples of what has been relied upon as evidence in Family Court proceedings:

  1. Screenshots of text messages between ex-spouses, or extended family members;
  2. Photographs of parents with their children in risk taking activities (for example, riding a motorbike without a helmet);
  3. Posts or screen shots of profiles showing derogatory comments about the other party or comments that otherwise might be considered to be abusive and threatening in nature; and
  4. Tagged posts or comments made by family members or friends which are derogatory or mention the other party to proceedings;

 

We strenuously recommend to clients that if they are in doubt – don’t post.