Gold Coast family lawyer Michael Kilmartin has a simple message for those using social media to vent during a relationship breakup- don’t do it, especially if you are contesting custody of children.
Posting emotional and hostile remarks about ex-partners on social media could rebound badly on you in the Family Court, he said.
Mr Kilmartin, a family lawyer with Gold Coast firm Adams Wilson Lawyers, said relationship breakdowns were increasingly also playing out on social media where former partners made claims about their ex partners hoping to influence Family Court decisions especially on child custody issues.
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“Don’t do it. The Judge will always be looking for the attitude the parents have toward parenting and attacking your ex ln social media could just tell the judge you may not be a fit parent, and your priorities are to yourself rather than focussed on the child’s needs,” he said.
Mr Kilmartin said the courts were mindful of how social media can be used as a weapon in divorce and parenting hearings especially if ex partners seemed to put their differences ahead of the needs of their children.
“Don’t use social media for any kind of bad-mouthing campaign and don’t encourage your friends to do it in support of you because what you post is pretty much publicly available, despite your security settings. If someone else can read it then it’s vulnerable to being copied and shared,”.
He recalled a case where a client set up a Facebook account as an open site to pitch their case for more access to their child.
“The court takes a dim view of this sort of strategy,” Mr Kilmartin said.
He felt that if someone posted on social media with claims and accusations, the Court may feel it undermines their integrity.
“A single lie to your social media audience could undermine everything you argue before the Court,” he added.
Mr Kilmartin also gave a strong warning against abuse allegations being posted on social media sites saying they could rebound on the accuser in court, especially if the post contained threats such as a parent saying they would ensure their ex could never have access to their children.
“Rants posted on social media could come back to haunt you in court. Regard anything you say about your ex-partner as potentially including the Judge, who will determine your matter, as part of that audience,” he said.
Mr Kilmartin said his warnings also extended to emails, text messages and any other form of modern communications system.
“Angry rants on social media forums are out of your control the moment you upload them. You could pay a high price later for the things you say now,” he said.