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Facebook and Family Law

By 12 April 2013Family Law

Facebook has always had notoriety around it. Like any social media platform it provides everyone with the opportunity of saying what they want to say and say it to who they like.

The platforms in themselves are great, but what isn’t so great is that people, can use them inappropriately and at times find themselves in a world of pain.

Look no further than ex-factor contestant Josh Brooks who allegedly used Facebook to solicit images of naked admirers, which resulted in a breach of Channel 7’s contractual relationship with him. It’s now cost him dearly, but may have cost him a whole lot more if he then went further and published some of those images to his Facebook friends.

You might recall that only a few months ago, a guy in NSW was jailed for 6 months for posting nude images of his ex-girlfriend on Facebook.

What is certain about social media being used in this type of manner, is that we can expect to see Australian courts, increasingly weight in on this type of behaviour and punish people for it. Already, Facebook and other platforms are being raked over by family lawyers looking for evidence to present to family courts to discredit an ex-partner, in 1 out of every 5 family law cases, according to the SA Legal Services Commission. It is a huge issue!

The biggest issue though is ramming it into the heads of people that they should not use social media, or in fact any online technology to shame someone, abuse someone or reveal something about a person that they haven’t agreed to already. That also includes revealing a location of a party that you haven’t been asked to promote.

Ignorance of the law is no defence and what’s getting people into big trouble is that when they’re sending out their tweet, or a post they’re getting into that frame of a social conversationĀ forgetting that the conversation may well be considered serious, and used as evidence against them in legal matters.

The best advice is to resist from falling into spontaneous online chat without thinking carefully and seriously about what you’re about to say, show or tell. And if you think your judgement might be effected by having a big night out, then why not leave your mobile phone at home, so you’re not tempted to say something you might later regret.

People who use Facebook to vent their anger, or any other emotion for that matter, while tangled in a family law dispute can find themselves in very deep water.

In this video, Kara Best from Best Wilson Buckley Family Law discusses the risks.