5 December 2014 Media Release Three rules for using social media during a family law matter When it comes to social media and family law proceedings it pays to ‘keep it in the family’, warns a leading Gold Coast family lawyer. Jones Mitchell family lawyer Orlena Moloney said many people were unaware that using social media while in the midst of a family law matter may be a breach of the Family Law Act, and punishable by prosecution. “In today’s modern world, many people use social media and Facebook in particular, as an outlet to vent their frustration against their ex partner,” said Ms Moloney. “While this might feel like a release and you may think that you are doing so privately, if it is found to be a breach of the Family Law Act there are far reaching consequences. “Beyond that, the Court might also consider such conduct as being relevant to its decision in a parenting or a property settlement matter.” Under current legislation, Section 121 of the Family Law Act makes it an offence to publish (including by electronic means) any material that may identify a party or parties in proceedings before the Family Court or the Federal Circuit Court. “Couples also need to consider their privacy settings and who might be reading their page, looking at their photos and considering the contents of comments made,” said Ms Moloney. “If you must have a social media page remember the old adage ‘If you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all’, unless you are prepared to have it used against you.” Here are Jones Mitchell Lawyers three rules for social media while in the middle of a family law matter: Rule 1 – Do I need an account? Firstly consider whether you need a Facebook, Instagram or Twitter account? Can you live without it until your family law matter is resolved? .../2 -2Rule 2 – Do I want someone else reading this? Remember that what you say and do if under scrutiny during your family law matters, and this includes any social media activity. Before you post, think about whether or not you would want a Family Court Judge, or an expert appointed to the Family Court, reading your (or your family and friends) comments. It does not take much for comments and opinions to be taken out of context, particularly if the other party is looking for a certain angle that will assist them in making out their case before the Judge. If you are not comfortable with a wider audience pouring over your electronic correspondence, don’t publicise it in the first place. Rule 3 – Is my account private? Consider your privacy settings and think about who is reading your page, looking at your photos and considering the content of comments made by you and your friends. Don’t forget your ex partner’s lawyers know how to use Facebook too! -ENDSFor more information: Contact Merrett Pye, Altitude Public Relations, 0422 096 049 or Caroline Thurlow, Altitude Public Relations, 0414 565 575. About Jones Mitchell Lawyers Jones Mitchell Lawyers is Queensland’s largest law firm practising exclusively in family and relationship law. The firm was established in 1990 and was then the first and only law firm in Queensland practising solely in matrimonial and family law, including de facto relationships. Uniquely, it remains the largest firm in Queensland to practise exclusively in family law and one of only a few specialty family law firms in Australia.
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