Be Wary About What You Post on Facebook, says Watts Mcray

Family lawyers Watts Mccray says extra precaution needs to be taken to ensure that you do not break the law while posting on social network websites like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

The law firm has cited a case on their website – where in the District Court of Western Australia, a wife was ordered to pay damages to her estranged husband as a result of posting defamatory comments about him on her Facebook page, including allegations that she has suffered years of abuse by him.

The husband, who was alerted to the post by family and friends, sued the wife for defamation.  At the time of the proceedings, the husband was a school teacher and alleged that such defamation could have caused significant issues to his employment.

In his Judgment, the Judge said: “Domestic violence and abuse by its very nature usually [occurs] in the matrimonial home and in the absence of independent witnesses” and it was possible to make defamation findings “solely on the evidence of one partner against the other.” The Court found that the post no doubt caused personal distress, humiliation, hurt and harm to the husband’s reputation, and it did cause people to “look at him twice” and “be more reserved about their contact with him”.

Further, the Court found that the husband was entitled to public vindication. The wife was ordered to pay damages of $12,500 plus interest and costs.

Aside from being subjected to potential defamation proceedings, it is also important to remember that anything one posts on public forum like Facebook may become evidence before the Court in any family law proceedings. Watts McCray says a silly harmless comment at the time may not seem that way when your post is being analyzed in court.

However, in some cases Facebook can be helpful. For example an order was made to for substituted service on a party’s Facebook page in relation to a paternity testing case. In the case of Byrne & Howard [2010] FMCAfam 509 the Judge ordered service by Facebook as a last resort when all other methods of service had failed and where the court was reasonable confident that the party to be serve was aware of the proceedings.

Engaging an accredited specialist ensures that parties are represented to the highest standard possible. Watts McCray lawyers are divorce and marriage law experts who can assist in all aspects of a separation and divorce.

Watts McCray’s divorce.com.au is an online resource for those who want to find out more about divorce in Australia, quickly and easily apply for a divorce, or contact a divorce lawyer in Australia to help them resolve their situation.  This resource allows parties involved in a relationship breakdown address issues such as financial arrangements, children, property and areas that can be easily overlooked – such as conduct of the parties during a separation.

For more information on divorce law, family lawyers Sydney, family lawyers Australia and more, visit https://www.divorce.com.au/

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