Facebook has fast become a phenomenon and is beginning to surface in family law proceedings. Incriminating photos and wall posts are now being used in the Family Law Courts as evidence and have proven to have the capacity to alter the outcome of a matter.
In Wadmal & Amrita (No. 2)  FamCA 106, a party’s evidence was successfully challenged with evidence he has posted in Facebook. Previous to this, the court had ordered that the father only spend supervised time with the child at the grandparents home. During the cross examination the father was asked if had ever taken his daughter to the beach on his own. The father replied “no” only to then be shown photos from his Facebook account which showed him and his daughter at the beach together. The evidence from Facebook affected the father’s credibility and the presiding Judge accepted ruled that he had breached court orders.
In Rose & Barwon (No. 2)  FamCA 738, the mother in the proceedings posted on Facebook the following as her status update about her ex partner:
“I was worried for a while there he wouldn’t turn up, but he was running late. I don’t care. I’ve still got my babies. Felt like being a smart arse and telling him to be afraid that I won’t take them back for another six months which would equal another $20,000”.
This status update was tendered to the Court. The Court found the mother to be wasting both the father’s money and the Courts resources and time by extending the length of the matter unnecessarily by making seriously false allegations. Consequently, the court ordered the mother to pay $15,000 of the father’s court costs.
Facebook has also been used to serve documents on a person rather than a personal service.
In Byrne & Howard FMCAfam 509 at paras 16-29 (21 April 2010) Brown FM ordered that in lieu of personal service an application was taken to have been served on the respondent by the relevant documents being sent to him via Facebook, which he used regularly.
If you have concerns about how Facebook or other social networking sites might affect you or your matter contact the family law team on (02) 6206 1397.
For more information or to make an appointment contact:
email: Carlos Turini at: firstname.lastname@example.org or call Carlos on: 02 6206 1300