The growing role of technology in family law

Date: Mar 09, 2016

In today's modern world, technology has advanced at a spectacular rate and has become integral to a number of sectors. As such, lawmakers have been forced to expand their understanding of technology and its intersection with the law.

Be it an experienced intellectual property specialist or a diligent divorce lawyer, legal cases are becoming more and more reliant on technology. But what role is technology playing in family law proceedings?

Is technology impacting child custody disputes?

Family-based disputes, such as child custody, can also involve serious forms of conflict. Technology can often play a role in these conflicts. If you are involved in a child custody dispute and are experiencing online or over-the-phone bullying, you should talk to an experienced family lawyer as this is illegal.

Telephone abuse is an offence under the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth), which makes menacing, harassing or offensive calls illegal. Cyberbullying - using online platforms to act in a cruel or hurtful way towards someone – can also present challenges.

This is due to several factors. For one, cyberbullying is sometimes characterised by the anonymity of the offender, which can make it hard to prove. Additionally, the legal framework in place is confusing as remedies could lie in the criminal law or the civil law, and even in industrial law depending on the form the bullying takes.

Responding to bullying that utilises technology

If someone is the victim of cyberbullying in the context of family law dispute, it is advisable to talk to an experienced family lawyer who can offer advice on how to proceed. New South Wales is also making an effort to formulate new approaches towards technology-based bullying.

In 2009, the New South Wales parliament released the findings of an investigation into bullying of young people and children.

"The committee was alarmed at the growing prevalence of cyber-bullying, which is more insidious in nature, having a heightened impact due to its ability to reach into the private domain of a child or young person," the government said.

The report released 25 recommendations that aimed to address bullying in schools and over the internet. One of the core recommendations was for the Attorney-General to review the current legislative framework that governs bullying offences - which includes cyberbullying.

The law does offer a range of possible legal solutions to incidents of cyber-related abuse. For instance, threatening someone in an effort intentionally cause them to fear violence is an offence – assault - regardless of  how these threats were made.

If you need help in a family law dispute, talk to the experts at Craddock Murray Neumann Lawyers today.