Social media within family law can be seen as beneficial to separated families. It creates a passage of communication by allowing the instant exchange of messages and photos. However, when used irresponsibly, it can present problems in your family law proceeding.
There is evidence that online interaction through these channels, is becoming more prevalent in the Family Court, particularly in the granting of domestic violence orders. Under the Domestic and Family Violence Protection Act 2012, domestic violence includes the unauthorised surveillance of a person. This definition could extend to include monitoring a person’s social networking accounts. Therefore, quarrelling on social media may easily turn in to domestic violence.
Social media spats are not viewed kindly in the Family Court, particularly when parenting orders are sought. As the prevalence of social media communications increase, the Family Court is moving with the times and becoming more willing to consider social media postings in, and it can be contradictory for a judge to make an order for co-parenting when there is evidence of abusive messages. Previously, the court has refused to grant equal time parenting orders in circumstances where communication between parents demonstrated a lack of respect between them.
It is certain that online communication will continue to be taken into account by the Family Court before making orders. It is therefore extremely important for parties in a family law matter to think before they post anything online – their thoughts and opinions posted to social media may end up before a judge as evidence.