Facebook Social Media Policy

If you are involved in a parenting case then you will need to be very careful about what you post on social media. In court cases these days it is very common to have Facebook entries and text communications become part of the evidence submitted to the court.

Let me give you some examples where people have gone wrong:

1. I have seen people post colourful articles about their social activities. Sometimes this refers to their alcohol consumption and/ or drug use. This material may be used by the other party to support a case that you do not have the capacity to care for the children.

2. I have seen people post items with negative comments about the other party. That will never help the person in a Court case. It may be that the children can access this material. A Judge will certainly be concerned about that. Sometimes the person posting the material is seeking equal time or an arrangement with a significant number of changeovers. In a case like this making negative comments about the other party may make it more difficult for the person to succeed in their case. For a Court to make equal time arrangements or put in place an arrangement with a lot of changeovers, the Court will generally want to know that the parties can communicate and parent in a co-operative way. Posting negative comments about the other party suggests that the parties can’t communicate and cooperate.

3. I have seen people post online material relating to the court case. This may well contravene Section 121 of the Family Law Act which deals with restrictions on publication of Court proceedings. Even if it doesn’t, the Judge will take a very dim view of material relating to the case being put into the public forum.

Parties also need to be very careful with their text communication. My colleagues and I often see examples of aggressive and abusive text communication. Such communication can often cause real difficulties for the person responsible for the communication. Judges do not want children to be exposed to aggression and abuse. It shows a lack of ability to communicate and cooperate and that can have the consequences outlined in point 2.

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