There is no denying that in today’s society social media has become an important platform, and whilst it can be seen as a way of bringing families and friends together from all over the world, it can also be the downfall in some relationships.
Clients who are parties to Family Law court proceedings need to be aware that posting anything on social media, including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat etc. that identifies a party to proceedings, a person related to the proceedings or a witness to the proceedings will be a breach of s121 of the Family Law Act 1975 (Cth).
‘Identifying’ includes posting a name (including pseudonym or alias), photographs and/or recordings of a party. It also covers posting the address or locality of the home or work of the party, physical description or the style of dress of the party and the employment or occupation of the party.
A person found to have breached s121 of the Family Law Act 1975 (Cth) can face up to one year imprisonment.
In addition to breaching s121 of the Family Law Act 1975 (Cth), an individual may also find themselves open to a defamation lawsuit. Posting something on social media is ‘publishing’ for the purpose of defamation law.
Clients should also be aware that there is no privilege in children’s matters. The Court’s paramount consideration is what is in the best interests of the children and because of this anything can be shown to the Court as evidence.
The bottom line is, if the social media post is something that you would not like the judge to see or that is embarrassing to or critical of another party, the best advice is not to post it!