Facebook and Family Law

With an increased surge towards online and electronic forms of communication, potential litigants in Family Law proceedings should be careful that they do not significantly damage their case by placing material on Facebook which denigrates the other party or exposes private information that is privy to Family Court proceedings.

A number of recent Family Court decisions have dealt with evidence from Facebook. In a recent Family Law case, it was conceded that the mother had breached section 121 of the Family Law Act by posting material relating to her Family Law proceedings. An interim injunction was granted which required the mother to remove the material and prevented any further publication of same.

In a further Family Court matter, it was found that the mother's Facebook entries suggested she engaged in certain conduct to cause the father to incur larger legal bills. Consequently, she was ordered to pay $15,000.00 to the father.

Parties involved in Family Law proceedings need to be cautioned about the ill effects of such behaviour and really need to reality test such comments before posting them on a Facebook forum. What is clear is that the Courts are willing and prepared to consider material that is published on Facebook when making decisions relating to future parenting arrangements. So parents should heed the warning.