Can My Social Media Posts Be Used as Evidence in Court?
Social media has become a part of everyday life which is why it is not uncommon to find screenshots of Facebook and Instagram posts annexed to family law affidavits. There are a number of cases which show a willingness by the Family Courts to adopt and use social media posts as evidence in court where necessary. Any statements or representations made by you on social media will most certainly be used scrutinised in court and tested and could be detrimental to your family law outcome.
Types of Social Media Posts that may be used as Evidence in Court
All sorts of social media posts can be used as evidence against you in court. They may use them as evidence of your character, or evidence of activities you partake in, or your inability to parent, even if you feel they are not an accurate representation.
Negative comments about your former partner on social media are regularly annexed to affidavits filed in a Family Law parenting matter. Negative social media posts don’t support both parents being able to co-parent the children and support the other parent’s relationship with the children.
Pictures shared on Facebook or Instagram are social media posts that can be used as evidence in court; An innocent Instagram post of Sunday afternoon drinks?... Or evidence of your diminished parenting capacity? Happy holiday snaps? … or evidence of your capacity to pay spousal maintenance?
As it is often difficult to obtain evidence showing behaviour which is not child-focused, we are seeing an increase in the reliance on unsavoury Facebook pictures, statuses and posts as primary evidence in circumstances where there may otherwise be no evidence to rely on.
Posts on Social Media About your Court Proceedings
You should make sure to never post about your Court proceedings on social media, or any public forum. Section 121 of the Family Law Act 1975 (Cth) makes it an offence (punishable by a term of imprisonment) to publish "by other electronic means, or otherwise [disseminate] to the public or a section of the public" any account of anything that would identify a party to the proceedings, or a person who is related to, or associated with a party to the proceedings.
Want To Chat More About Social Media and How To Ensure You Don't Post Anything That Could Be Used As Evidence in Court?
If you are concerned that your social media posts may be used against you as evidence in your specific family law case, or would like more information on social media best practices when going through proceedings, Pullos Lawyers can assist. We are specialist family lawyers with many years’ experience dealing with all types of family law issues, including divorce, domestic violence, LGBT law, children’s issues, international divorce and many more. Please contact us or phone us on (07)5526 3646 (Gold Coast office) or (07) 3144 1641 (Brisbane office).