Inappropriate use of social media and electronic communication

"Listen here you fat (blank)"..."your bogan (blank) can play happily (sic) families on Facebook with her kids as [X] is no longer available for you to use.  He is my son and  not your paycheck (sic) you bludging junkie filth."..."you are as weak as piss and a complete (sic) moron if you think i care you are alive or dead (black)".

This is the opening quote in the recent judgement of Judge McGuire in the Family Court in Launceston. In this case, his honour was determining final parenting arrangements for a 7 year old boy. His honour acknowledged the challenges this little boy was facing in his first statement following that quote where he said: “It is with such colourful but vitriolic eloquence that the three important adults in the life of [X] communicate in respect of this young boy. The affidavits of the mother, the father, and the father’s partner, Ms S, are each highlighted by the annexure of reams of text or Facebook messaging between these three adults and almost entirely of the same tenor as extracted above showing the full spectrum of their linguistic and expressive capabilities albeit often with grammatical confusion of usage as either verb or noun. Whilst such vernacular may be common and even acceptable in 2018 in discourse between consenting adults, its use in threatening tone between parents (and other interested adults) in negotiating the parenting arrangements for a seven year old boy remains inappropriate but demonstrative of the impediments facing this child in negotiating his life”.

With social media having invaded almost every part of our lives, it is always tempting to jump onto the keyboard and offload your anger at your ex partner, the “system” or society in general. What you need to keep in mind that this is not helpful to your parenting relationship, your children or your case if you happen to be in the unfortunate situation of having to be involved in the family law court system.

The old adage of “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all” is a mantra to be recommended when separated parents are communicating about parenting matters.

The other thing that should be kept in mind is that it is likely that everything that you write via social media, text message or email is being recorded for future use. Therefore, it is important that you keep your communication respectful, concise and child focused.