Divorce In The Digital Age

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The internet is a useful tool in countless ways, including for accessing information that could otherwise be difficult, costly, and time-consuming to access. Sometimes, though, ease of access to important, often life-changing information, can work to a person’s detriment.

In Australia, Google searches for the search terms ‘divorce’ and ‘separation’ surged over the lockdown periods during the COVID pandemic, and in 2022 the nation experienced its highest rate of divorces.

During a separation and divorce, there are plenty of useful resources on the internet that can help ex-couples move forward, co-parent successfully, and seek support groups to build out their communities. What isn’t useful, however, is unqualified and inexperienced people purporting to have legal advice about financial settlements, custody arrangements, or the divorce proceedings themselves. For these topics, it is crucial that you seek legal advice from an experienced family lawyer.

What is a lawyer’s role in divorce in Australia?

Divorce lawyers can advocate for their clients in a divorce from start to finish and by providing wraparound services including assisting with custody arrangements, striving for fair and equitable financial and property settlements, and the legal process of achieving the divorce itself.

Seeking a trusted family lawyer soon after you and your former partner decide to separate means you will have an ally on your side who can manage deadlines and paperwork, prepare a strong case for any custody arrangements you may be seeking, and stay abreast of any issues that may arise along the way.

Online conduct to avoid during a separation

If tensions are high it is natural to want to vent and broadcast your side of the story to those in your inner circle, especially if they may also hear your former spouse’s side. Sometimes it is tempting to post updates directly to social media, including the types of frustrating scenarios involving your former spouse, but it is advisable to leave this type of content offline. Instead, try to air your grievances to a close friend or family member or better yet, a professional counselor, therapist, or psychologist who is trained to listen and guide you through the tricky emotional periods in your life.

Increasingly, online groups are encouraging people to share their personal experiences online in the name of being able to provide support and advice in response. It is strongly recommended that personal and legal information is not shared via these platforms as first, the sharing of information pertaining to legal proceedings can find the party in breach of section 121 of the Family Law Act 1975 (Cth) and second, there is no way to guarantee that the person or people behind the accounts is experienced in family law matters or even has the authority or credentials to impart legal advice. Any party that takes the advice of these types of online groups will also struggle to find any recourse should their proceedings fail based on the advice taken.

In any case, to avoid being in breach of the Family Law Act, divorcing couples should be mindful of what they share online and be careful not to identify:

  • a party to the proceedings;
  • a person who is related to or associated with a party to the proceedings (or otherwise alleged to in some way be concerned in the matter to which the proceedings relate); or
  • a witness in the proceedings.

If you have separated from your former spouse and are seeking a divorce, our experienced family lawyers in Cairns can assist you with all legal elements of the separation.

At Cairns Divorce Lawyers you will always speak to a Lawyer