Thinking about posting about your Family Court Proceedings on Facebook?

Well, you should think again.

If you are involved or have, in the past been involved in Family Court Proceedings, you cannot and should not post or reveal details of those proceedings online. This includes the ‘likes' of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, any other social media platform or otherwise on the internet.

Section 121 of the Family Law Act prohibits the publication of details relating to Family Court Proceedings where that publication identifies the parties or other details set out below.

Consequences for breaching Section 121 of the Family Law Act can include a term of imprisonment.  It could also, depending on the circumstances surrounding the publication and what is actually published, put you in contempt of the Court.  Anyone found in contravention of this Section can be prosecuted and could face a fine or a term of imprisonment.

Section 121 (1) of the Family Law Act 1975 states that:-

A person who publishes in a newspaper or periodical publication, by radio broadcast or television or by other electronic means, or otherwise disseminates to the public or to a section of the public by any means, any account of any proceedings, or of any part of any proceedings, under this Act that identifies:-

  • A party to the proceedings;
  • A person who is related to, or associated with, a party to the proceedings, or is alleged to be, in any other way concerned in the matter to which the proceedings relate; or
  • A witness in the proceedings;

commits an offence punishable, upon conviction, by imprisonment for a period not exceeding one year.

Whilst upon first reading the above you could think that the Section relates to publications like a newspaper however, the Act does cover publishing anything to social media or a social networking site.

The above makes it very important for anyone thinking of posting something about their Family Court Proceedings or just having a rant, to seriously think carefully about what they are posting before doing it.  As is a well-known fact these days it is very difficult, if not impossible, to take back or remove something from social media once it has been posted.

All of the above is, of course, in stark contrast to what occurs in some overseas jurisdictions where details of what is happening or has happened in divorce and other related proceedings is often published and plastered across the front page of newspapers, magazines and on social media.

The message here is clear, just remember that whilst being involved in Family Court Proceedings can, more often than not, be very stressful and at times frustrating, the likes of Facebook and other social media platforms are not the place to air those frustrations and or your anger at the system.

Think before you post!

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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