What information can I share about my family law matter?

With the rise of social media, relaying information to family and friends online about your private affairs has become commonplace.  Whilst this is the case, you should be aware that doing so about your Family Court proceedings could land you in hot water.

Section 121 of the Family Law Act 1975 (“the Act”) provides as follows:

  1. 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, 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 the chance of circulating information about your family law matter in a newspaper, publication, radio or television is unlikely, doing so by electronic means is certainly not.

The Act defines electronic means as any form of data, text or images, and even voice recordings. Therefore, any information which is shared via text messages, photographs via MMS, voicemail, the internet, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or any other social media sites for example, may result in a breach of Section 121 of the Act, and depending on the severity of the breach, could result in a term of imprisonment.

The Act does not only restrain the publication of information or transmission of information by electronic means, merely discussing or providing a copy of your Court documents to friends or family, or any person who is not subject to the proceedings may also lead to a breach of the Act.

For more information about your rights and responsibilities with respect to your family law matter, call Perth Family Lawyers on (08) 9325 8675 or email us at admin@perthfamilylawyers.com