FLAST CASE SUMMARY:Doonan & Bradshaw [2014]- Parenting

Doonan & Bradshaw [2014] FCCA 2666 (28 November 2014)

Can your Facebook posts be used against you as evidence in the Family Court?

YES IT CAN!

ANYTHING you say or post on social media whether intentional, implied, and mistaken, including emails to the OP family may be used as evidence in Court.

In this challenging parenting case concerning the best interests of two young children, which comprises of competing applications for the children to live primarily with each parent, Facebook posts were referred to throughout by both parties who were regarded as ‘flawed personalities.’ The mother had posted such things on Facebook as “I don’t regret having my kids, but I regret having them with such a selfish b@#*&%d! “Who the f@#*k favourites kids?”

Additionally, the mothers new partner posted such things as “Listen here hero don’t be threatening me with guns!!! I have my licence too f@#*#t..!!! N good on u for 13yrs of kickboxing coz ur gonna need it I was brought up on the streets!!! Anytime any place anywhere.” It was subsequently established the mother’s partner’s behaviour was wholly consistent with the Facebook posts. The Judge affirmed that the mother’s partner is no stranger to violence.

The Judge remarked at [189] ‘the mother is plainly still a person lacking in self-control, the offensive nature of her stupid Facebook posts makes this clear.’ The mothers offensive Facebook posts highlighted to the Judge that her behaviour is childish for her age.

The Judge was concerned with the nature of Facebook posts from all involved, whilst the posts were not the determinative factor in this case, they significantly assisted the Judge in forming a view of the parties involved.

 FACTS SUMMARY:

  • Separated children aged 5 and 3.
  • Both parents seek for the children to live with them and spend time with the other parent.
  • Substantial cross allegations of drug and alcohol abuse.
  • Mother has re-partnered; the new partner is aggressive and prone to violence.
  • The Family report writer recommends the children to live with father.
  • Both parents are deemed flawed.

ISSUE:

  • What parenting arrangement will be in the children’s best interests?
  • Are the children at risk with the mother’s partner?

HELD:

It was determined it was in the children’s best interest to live with father and spend time with mother as per recommendation by the report writer.

This matter was determined pursuant to s.60CC of the Family Law Act.

The children have lived mainly with the father as their primary carer all their lives, except for the instances when the mother has over held the younger child. Both parents have ‘flawed personalities’ however they both love their children.

The Judge agreed that the father’s concerns about the mother’s partner are reasonable.The Judge did not order the fathers proposal to prevent the children from being brought into contact with or left alone with the mother’s partner, for this would not work. The Judge has confidence that the mother’s partner statement that he never hits the children is truth, however, the Judge expresses doubt that may be the case with women.

Legislation: 

Family Law Act 1975s.60CC

Goode v Goode  [2006] FamCA 1346

 

 

 

 

 

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