Skip to main content

Dear Katrina,

What should I avoid online when going through a separation?

When meeting clients for the first time, and particularly in parenting cases, my first point of advice is to be very careful about what you publish online.

People use social media platforms differently. For some, it is simply used as a tool of entertainment. For others, unfortunately it’s their way of “airing dirty laundry” or garnering sympathy or support.

Katrina Peters

The latter is not so bad if there are no identifying features or if the user’s settings are not set to public, however I have witnessed many clients and ex partners of clients run into trouble for the content that they share online. For example, in one recent case, a mother continuously posted threatening and derogatory comments on her social media about my client, a father of a 9 year old boy. Due to these comments, a protection order was taken out against the mother. That didn’t stop her though, as she continued to make the comments and breached her protection order. The result of that was that rather than the protection order issue remaining a civil law matter, it became a criminal offence for which she was found guilty, and a criminal conviction was recorded.

Another aspect is that these types of posts will most certainly be used by the other parent in Court proceedings. I have had experiences where parties file pages and pages of annexures to their affidavit evidence of screenshots of these sorts of online posts. One affidavit in particular I witnessed contained over 100 pages of screenshots. The Court does not view this type of behaviour by parents very positively and it could negatively impact a parent’s case.
Disputes in family law are extremely emotional, stressful, and traumatic, so it is understandable that sometimes parents want to vent online. However, social media is definitely not the place to do that.

My advice is that you should talk to your support network, such as family and friends. If that support network is not available, then you should seek out external counselling and support services.

For more information visit