Think twice before posting on social media

Increased access to the internet in the last ten years has seen an exponential boom in the use of social media. Whether it be Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat or other applications like Skype, it has never been easier to communicate with friends and family across the world.

By Rose Hunt, Lawyer at Australian Family Lawyers

These communication platforms are a great way for families to stay in touch and keep one another updated on their lives. When used responsibly, social media can be a fantastic tool for parents to keep regular communication with their children, even when it’s not possible to be physically present.

Despite its advantages, it’s important to be mindful of the content you post on your social media accounts, whether or not your account is set to “private”. It can be tempting to discuss your family law matter on social media to vent or get feedback and support from friends and family, but what is posted in the ‘heat of the moment’ can have a detrimental effect on your legal matters.

Social media and divorce should remain separate

Materials posted on social media are often more permanent than you think and even once deleted, words and images you upload on these platforms can remain online and be difficult to remove. It goes without saying, social media and divorce should not be mixed.

You must therefore be aware that your social media posts could come back to bite you, perhaps attached to legal correspondence from your ex-partner’s lawyer or worse, annexed to your ex-partner’s affidavit. Social media posts are increasingly being attached to family law affidavits, which are filed with the Court and then read by the Judge.

Further, section 121 of the Family Law Act makes it an offence to publish any account of proceedings or images which identifies a party or child involved in family law proceedings. If found guilty of such an offence, a person may be fined or imprisoned for up to one year.

So, if you do use social media to keep in touch with friends and family throughout your family law matter, always think twice before posting because you never know where your posts might end up.

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