Family law cases for many years have been intensely private. But what was once private is now commonly publicised on social media. If you are going through a separation, it is very important that you are aware of your social media presence and realise what you post or send could affect the outcome of negotiations or litigation with your former partner. Reliance on text messages and emails as evidence in family law disputes and Court proceedings is not new. However, if you think that your social media posts will not be used against you by your former partner and their solicitor, then you are mistaken.
With social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and LinkedIn granting users the capability to instantly publish essentially anything that they wish at the click of a button, it is not uncommon for posts to end up being relied upon as evidence in family court proceedings.
In family law matters, a spouse’s credibility is important, and the increasing popularity of social media is now proving a shortcut to finding damaging evidence, particularly in children’s parenting cases. As it is often difficult to obtain evidence showing absentee-parenting and behaviour which is not child-focused, the court is increasingly seeing late-night tweets, risqué Facebook photographs, or toxic status updates used as primary evidence in circumstances where there may otherwise be no evidence to rely on.
Evidence from social media can be relevant to a wide range of family law disputes and proceedings including those relating to parenting matters, financial disputes, spousal maintenance, and child support. Below are some examples of what could be used against you in family law proceedings:
- an album on Facebook of your lavish holiday or new car could be relied upon as evidence of your capacity to pay your former partner spousal maintenance;
- your previous employment history or your side business listed on LinkedIn that you forgot to disclose could be evidence of your failure to provide full and frank disclosure in financial proceedings;
- photos on Instagram of your drunken night last Friday when your solicitor previously wrote a letter to your former partner’s solicitor stating that you were unable to care for the children that night;
- photographs and posts evidencing that a de facto relationship exists when you claimed that it does not (which, if discovered, invokes the jurisdiction of the family court to make orders).
- your insulting twitter about your former partner from 2006 could be evidence of your attitude to parenting or your character generally; or
- your dating profile which states that you drink and do drugs casually could be used as evidence as to your parenting ability.
If you are preparing for separation or have separated and would like to find out more about your rights and options, Straits Lawyers are here to help. Simply send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or give us a call on 8410 9069 to arrange an appointment for an online interview.
Alternativey, if you would like to have a Binding Financial Agreement or Consent Orders drafted, Straits Lawyers are now offering online services at https://straits-lawyers.square.site/product/family-law-binding-financial-agreement-consultation-bfa-/5?cs=true.
Please note that this article does not constitute legal advice and Straits Lawyers will not be legally responsible for any actions you take based on this article.