The long and far reaching effects of Social Media in Family Court proceedings
– by Carr & Co lawyer, Ben King.
There has been an explosion in the use of social media worldwide in recent years. Posting, blogging, tweeting and pinning have become the norm. However, with this new variety of electronic platforms is a plethora of associated risks. More often than not in Family Law proceedings tensions between warring factions are on a knife edge. People unsurprisingly need an outlet for this tension, turning to social media as a way of venting their frustration. However, unbeknown to most in the population, such posts could be utilised as evidence by the other side.
What is evidence you say? Well a piece of evidence is anything presented that supports an assertion. There are of course rules that dictate the admissibility of evidence, which essentially revolves around the point of relevance. In Family Law proceedings, a post on Facebook in anger is more often than not deemed to be relevant for all intents and purposes.
So what does this mean for you? Firstly, anything you put on social media could be admitted to the Court as evidence against you. Secondly, anything posted on social media can in most cases, be seen by anyone on the internet. The contents of such a post may be seen by family, mutual friends and workmates. In such a public forum, the consequences could be very distressing to many.
Instead of venting your anger with a post on social media consider:
- Going for a walk;
- Making a cup of tea or coffee; or
- Calling a friend.
Another good thing to do is to wait an hour or even until the next day before you share something on social media. More often than not you will realise that the post is not a good idea.
You may not think that you use social media much, or consider yourself to be at risk of posting something damaging. Caution should still be taken in any event.