How Using Social Media Can Affect Your Family Law Matter

Family Law

minutes reading time

DATE PUBLISHED: February 15, 2022


  • Sharing details of your family law matter (eg. divorce or children's matters) can give your ex evidence to use against you or risk you breaching the Family Law Act. 
  • There are 5 ways your content can be used against you, including providing evidence for drug and alcohol problems, mental health problems, extravagant lifestyle, de facto relationships and co-parenting.
  • The recent cases of Suris & Suris  and Yabon & Yabon are two examples of when social media use from one party has negatively impacted their case. 

In today's social media world, it may seem natural for you to post details about your separation on social media. However, you should be wary of what you post on social media because you might be:

  1. Providing your ex with valuable evidence to use against you in your family law proceedings; or 
  2. Putting yourself at risk of being prosecuted for breaching section 121 of the Family Law Act 1975 (Cth) (if your matter is or has been before the Court) because you have shared details of your family law matter online. 

what evidence might you provide your ex?

Situations where your social media posts might be used against you as evidence include:


drug and alcohol problems

If your ex has alleged you have an alcohol or drug problem, you should be very careful of what videos you, or others with you, upload to social media. This is regardless of whether the post is temporary or has a time limit.


extravagant lifestyle

If your ex has alleged you are leading an extravagant lifestyle, and you say you don't, you should be very careful about uploading photographs of you that show you on expensive holidays or buying luxury items. Otherwise, your ex may rely upon that as evidence of an extravagant lifestyle.


mental health problems

If your ex is alleging you pose a risk to the children due to concerns about your mental health, you should be careful not to post in public forums or on social media (including in private groups) about your mental health as your ex may rely on that as evidence.


de facto relationship

The new case management pathway has a significant emphasis on dispute resolution and parties are expected to use every opportunity to participate in dispute resolution, whether that be a court-based family dispute resolution conference, conciliation conference, private mediation, arbitration or legal aid conferences. 


co-parenting relationship

You should not make derogatory comments about your ex on social media. You should delete any derogatory comments your friends on social media make about your ex on your profile. Your ex may use this as evidence of a poor co-parenting relationship which might make it difficult to have the children live and/or spend time with you.

You may be in breach of section 121 of the Family law act 1975 (cth)

Along with providing your ex with valuable evidence, you may be breaching section 121 of the Family Law Act 1975 (Cth) if you post details of your family law proceedings online. 

Section 121 of the Family Law Act 1975 (Cth) provides that it is an offence for any person to publish or disseminate to the public any account of proceedings that provides information capable of identifying the parties to the dispute.  

Recent case examples of referrals for breaches of section 121

In the recent case Suris & Suris [2021] FedCFamC1F 1, Her Honour Justice Carew considered a serious breach of section 121 by the father. In that case, the father made numerous social media posts about the proceedings, posted text messages from the children and displayed a 'documentary' commissioned by the father about his family court proceedings at a ticketed public cinema event. Justice Carew determined that it was appropriate to refer the father to the Australian Federal Police so they could consider whether the father should be criminally prosecuted for breaches of section 121.  

In another case, Yabon & Yabon (No 4) [2020] FamCA 1001, His Honour Justice Forrest determined it was appropriate to refer the father's wife to the Australian Federal Police for contraventions of section 121. In that case, the father's wife, Ms Yabon, admitted to uploading videos of one of the subject children saying negative things about her mother and stepfather to a social media page in an attempt to persuade members of the public to donate monies to help the father fund his legal action. Ms Yabon also sent a lengthy email letter of complaint to a number of people and media outlets which named herself, the father and children by their full names and birthdates.   

What Is The Punishment For A Breach Of Section 121?

If you breach section 121, you could be referred for prosecution by the Australian Federal Police. If you are prosecuted and convicted of committing an offence under section 121, you may be imprisoned for up to twelve months.


Although social media can be used as an outlet or way to document your life, it's best to keep any family law matters away from it. Any information shared publicly, no matter how innocent it may seem to you, could be used against you in further proceedings or put you at risk of breaching the Family Law Act.

get in touch with us!

If you are concerned that you or your ex may have breached section 121 of the Family Law Act 1975 (Cth), we can provide you with advice on what you should do. Contact us today for an obligation-free appointment. 

To get in contact,  please fill out the enquiry form below and mention this article for an obligation-free appointment.

Don't Miss a Beat

Subscribe to MCW Insights

Still Have Questions?

Make an Enquiry

Can I Relocate With My Children After Separating From My Partner?
How Using Social Media Can Affect Your Family Law Matter
Can a Final Property Order Be Set Aside?
What You Need to Know About Property Settlement When Separating From Your Ex
How to Apply to the Court for Parenting Orders
Can the Court or My Ex Make Me Vaccinate Our Children?
Top 10 Major Changes In The Merger Of The Federal Circuit Court And Family Court
Can I Travel More Than 10kms Within Queensland To See My Child?