Stay off social media during your divorce

stay off social media during your divorce


The passing of the Family Law Amendment Bill 2023 has significant implications for communications on social media about family law matters.  We have updated this post to refer to those amendments. 

Divorce can be a difficult and emotional time for everyone involved. One thing that can make the process even harder is the use of social media. In today’s digital age, social media has become a significant presence in our daily lives, but it can also be a source of stress and complications during a divorce. In this blog post, we will explore the reasons why you should stay off social media during your divorce.

So much drama

Social media can be a breeding ground for drama and conflict. The anonymity of the internet can make people feel entitled to say things they wouldn’t say in person (and some of it can be extremely distressing and harmful – enter the troll).

The constant scroll of updates can make it easy to get caught up in the emotions of others. This can lead to arguments, hurt feelings, and even legal issues.  Have you ever found yourself arguing with complete strangers on social media?  You don’t need to be expending emotional energy and time dealing with social media trolls when you are already dealing with the emotions and paperwork of your divorce. (If you do find yourself – or your children – in the sights of one, this is a great page on how to deal with social media trolls)

Anything you say can and will be used against you…

Social media can be used as evidence in court. Anything you post, comment on, or like can be used against you in court. This includes photos, videos, and private messages. Even if you think your social media accounts are private, they can still be accessed by your spouse and their legal team. You may also have people you believe to be ‘friends’ who will take screenshots of posts and pass them on to your ex.  This can be damaging to your case and can result in some very uncomfortable and even damaging situations when what you thought were your private posts or messages become public. Never ever post on social media if you have been drinking. If you can’t drive, you definitely shouldn’t post.

In mediation, social media posts can be very problematic.  We have now implemented a condition of our Mediation Agreement that no one is permitted to post on social media about, or during, the mediation.  Yes, this was sadly the result of someone doing exactly that.  It definitely did not help negotiations when a friend sent a screenshot of it to the other party.


Social media can be a distraction from the important work of healing and moving on.  Whilst you might at first believe the distraction to be helpful, occupying your time when you are alone, social media is not reality.  The constant stream of updates can make it difficult to focus on the present and the tasks that need to be done, and keep you from addressing the emotions you are feeling (much like alcohol – but that’s another blog post).

Social media can also be a source of stress and anxiety, two things you definitely do not need more of during a divorce. 

Well-intentioned but misguided

There are many social media pages, reels, and stories offering advice about family law.  There are pages for single dads, single mums, and stepparents – there is something for everyone.  The problem with these pages and groups is that they are echo chambers.  My experience of being in some of the single mum’s groups is that they tend to stray off-topic.  I am in one that has nothing to do with law and is for Single Mums following the Barefoot Investor method of managing their finances.  However, there is never a week that goes by that someone doesn’t ask for family law advice from members.  On average, at least 75% of the ‘advice’ provided is completely incorrect.  It may be well-intentioned, but that doesn’t make it any less wrong.  Family law advice should be obtained from a qualified, specialist family lawyer.  You can obtain a referral from the law society in your state or if you can’t afford a lawyer, contact legal aid or a community legal centre, for free advice you can rely on.  Save the social media for videos of cats on robot vacuum cleaners.

Potential for imprisonment!

The Family Law Amendment Act changes the Family Law Act and has a lot more detail around the prohibition of publishing details of family law matters.

Here are the important parts of the amendment:


communicate means communicate by any means, including by any of the following:

                     (a)  publication in a book, newspaper, magazine or other written publication;

                     (b)  broadcast by radio or television;

                     (c)  public exhibition;

                     (d)  broadcast or publication or other communication by means of the internet.

Example:    For the purposes of paragraph (d), online communications and communications using a social media service.

114Q   Indictable offence—communication to the public of account of proceedings that identifies parties or others involved in proceedings

             (1)  A person commits an indictable offence if:

                     (a)  the person communicates to the public an account of proceedings under this Act; and

                     (b)  the account identifies:

                              (i)  a party to the proceedings; or

                             (ii)  a witness in the proceedings; or

                            (iii)  a person who is related to, or is associated with, a party to the proceedings; or

                            (iv)  a person who is, or is alleged to be, in any other way concerned in the matter to which the proceedings relate.

Penalty:  Imprisonment for 1 year.

             (2)  Subsection (1) does not apply if the communication is:

                     (a)  in accordance with a direction of a court; or

                     (b)  otherwise approved by a court.

             (3)  For the purposes of paragraph (1)(b), an account of proceedings is taken to identify a person if the account includes material that is sufficient to identify the person to a member of the public. Examples of such material might include the following:

                     (a)  a picture, recording, or physical description of the person;

                     (b)  a name or title that identifies the person;

                     (c)  an address or location where the person resides or works;

                     (d)  details of the person’s employment, paid or voluntary;

                     (e)  the relationship or other connection between the person and an identified person or business;

                      (f)  the person’s political, philosophical or religious beliefs;

                     (g)  any real or personal property associated with the person.

What does all of that mean in plain English?

Putting anything online about a family law matter may breach this section!

You could commit an offence by simply identifying the new partner or the sister of someone whose matter is in court.  

Over recent years, some people have taken to platforms like Go Fund Me to raise money for family law matters.  These amendments are very broad and some of the posts that previously might have slipped through the wording of s.121, will not pass the new test.

So, that friend you want to help by setting up a Go Fund Me – think twice unless the prospect of time behind bars sounds like a holiday.

Posting on social media about your own matter is never a good idea and it just became a really bad idea. 

Fill the void…

So, what should you do instead? Here are a few tips to help you stay off social media during your divorce:

– Delete the apps from your phone or log out of your accounts on your computer

-Find a hobby or activity that you enjoy and focus on that instead

– Exercise.  You don’t have to train for a half-marathon as I did during my divorce, but you should be able to find some form of exercise you enjoy, that will also give you the endorphin boost and stress relief you need during the stress of a divorce.  Try yoga, swing dancing, pole dancing – just try something new (bonus: you’ll also meet new friends who don’t have to be part of your divorce story). I had a client who joined a group who walked in a local shopping centre in the morning (to enjoy the free air conditioning). It was before the shops opened, so there were no crowds, and it was window shopping only!

-Reach out to friends and family for support

-Work with a social worker or psychologist to help you process your emotions.  You may be able to obtain this for free through your Employer’s Assistance Program or talk to your GP about a mental health plan

-Set boundaries for yourself and stick to them

Social media can seem like an outlet during your divorce, but it can be a major source of stress and complications. By staying off social media during your divorce (or at least limiting your time on it), you can avoid drama, protect your case, and focus on the important work of healing and moving on. If you need help or support, reach out to friends, family, or a professional, like a Certified Divorce Coach.

Remember that you deserve to have a peaceful and successful divorce.

Here’s another post we wrote about why you shouldn’t name a cockroach after your ex for Valentine’s Day. Scroll that one instead of the socials!

On a more serious note, we also have advice about how to tell our kids about our divorce, and how to prepare for mediation.

To speak with us about mediation or parenting coordination, book a free Discovery Call today.

Photo by Sara Kurfeß on Unsplash

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