The use of email, Facebook and Skype among other social
networking sites has changed the way we communicate and keep in
touch with friends and family all around the world. These
developments have been of particular benefit to separated families
where children are involved. However, there is also a real
opportunity to do irreparable damage to your family law matter and
ongoing relationship with your former partner or children if you
are not aware of how these changes in communication can affect your
Greater access to your children
As part of a relationship breakdown that involves children, it
is inevitable that children will spend time, however frequent or
infrequent, in different households. With increasing access to
technology such as Skype, email and mobile phones, it is now easier
than ever to keep in contact with your children and bridge the gap
between households. As a consequence, courts now have an
expectation, if parties live far away from each other, or if time
spent with one parent is infrequent, that Skype or some other
technology will be available to enable communication to take
How technology can help Family Lawyers
Family lawyers can now also use Facebook and email communication
in a number of areas to assist in cases where the other party is
being uncooperative. Family lawyers may now use Facebook to serve
documents, to locate a parent that has gone missing with a child or
to communicate with another party who does not have legal
When does it all go wrong?
Misusing social networking sites like Facebook can cause
irreparable damage to your matter. It is common for parties to post
negative or defaming comments about their former partner when they
are angry or upset during a relationship breakdown. In some cases,
parties may even post photos of themselves doing illegal or
inappropriate activities, sometimes having occurred in the presence
It is important to remember what you say and do is not private
when it is shared on social media. Even if you have blocked your
former partner, it is likely you have mutual friends who still have
access to your accounts and anything found may be used as evidence
Don't use technology to harass your ex
These developments in technology are fantastic for the children
of separated families and for maintaining a consistent relationship
with both parents. Abusing this form of communication, by using it
too frequently, using it contrary to the orders or using it to
harass your former partner, rather than spending time with the
children, will all have long term negative consequences on your
matter. Similarly, if you are the parent facilitating access
through these technologies depriving them of this contact will also
be taken seriously by the courts.
Technology when used correctly provides enormous assistance to
separated parties. However, if not used as intended, provides real
scope to do significant damage.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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