find the latest legal job
Corporate Counsel and Company Secretary
Category: Generalists - In House | Location: Newcastle, Maitland & Hunter NSW
· Highly-respected, innovative and entrepreneurial Not-for-Profit · Competency based Board
View details
Chief Counsel and Company Secretary
Category: Generalists - In House | Location: Newcastle, Maitland & Hunter NSW
· Dynamic, high growth organisation · ASX listed market leader
View details
In-house Projects Lawyer | Renewables / Solar | 2-5 Years PQE
Category: Generalists - In House | Location: All Australia
· Help design the future · NASDAQ Listed
View details
Insurance Lawyer (3-5 PAE)
Category: Insurance and Superannuation Law | Location: Brisbane CBD & Inner Suburbs Brisbane QLD
· Dynamic organisation ·
View details
Legal Counsel
Category: Corporate and Commercial Law | Location: North Sydney NSW 2060
· 18 month fixed term contract · 3-5 years PQE with TMT exposure
View details
Brisbane firm sounds alarm on impending Faulkner book

Brisbane firm sounds alarm on impending Faulkner book

Jennifer Hetherington

A family law firm has issued a warning to couples in custody disputes in response to Sally Faulkner’s impending book release, detailing the child-snatching saga in Lebanon earlier this year.

Hetherington Legal said the Christmas release of Ms Faulkner’s book All for my Children could come under family law legislation, which has a section making it illegal to identify children in custody issues.

Jennifer Hetherington, family law specialist at Hetherington Legal, said the book could send the wrong message to couples in custody disputes and has the potential to do more harm than good.

“If you go on social media and tell the world about your fight with your ex over the kids, and identify them, it could rebound badly on you in the Family Court,” she said.

“Ms Faulkner has a public profile because of the Lebanon fiasco in April, but the Family Law Act applies to anyone in custody proceedings before the court.”

Ms Hetherington noted that Section 121 of the Family Law Act is clear in its ban on identifying parties involved in matters before the Family Court, and the penalty for breaching it can be up to a year’s imprisonment.

Ms Hetherington pointed to the example of a media organisation that was once fined $120,000 for breaching the act in its coverage of the 'Italian girls' custody dispute in 2012, when four sisters were forcibly removed from Australia and returned to the custody of their father in Italy. The hefty fine was for illegally identifying a family involved in a court custody battle.

“The organisation published the names and photos of a mother and her children involved in a Family Court dispute,” Ms Hetherington said.

“The Family Law Act clearly states that anyone, including the media, is prohibited from publishing details of court proceedings if they identify parties involved in Family Court proceedings.”

Ms Hetherington said the same rules would likely apply to Ms Faulkner’s custody war with her ex-husband, which resulted in Channel Nine funding a “recovery operation” of her children in Lebanon.

“To me, as a family lawyer, there are warning alarms going off everywhere with this idea, especially as media reports show the children’s faces are plastered over the book’s cover,” she said.

“What especially concerns me is how it may influence other people who may assume it’s then OK to air their custody disputes online on custody forums and social media like Facebook.”

Ms Hetherington said taking this approach in a custody dispute has the potential to backfire.

“Don’t use social media, because everything you post is there for all time and it can be seen and gathered as evidence against your case,” she said.

“A separation process is traumatic, so the important thing is to maintain your integrity. If you go to social media with claims and accusations, the court may feel it undermines your integrity,” she said.

“Regard anything you say about your ex-partner as potentially ending up in front of the judge. This warning also extends to emails, text messages and any other form of modern communications system.”

Like this story? Read more:

QLS condemns actions of disgraced lawyer as ‘stain on the profession’

NSW proposes big justice reforms to target risk of reoffending

The legal budget breakdown 2017

Brisbane firm sounds alarm on impending Faulkner book
lawyersweekly logo
Promoted content
Recommended by Spike Native Network
more from lawyers weekly
Applauds
07:00
LCA applauds proposed Modern Slavery Act
The Law Council of Australia has welcomed new recommendations for the development of a Modern Slaver...
Mentoring
07:00
Top-tier offers targeted mentoring for Indigenous law students
Students at Macquarie University will be the first to benefit from a new Indigenous mentoring progra...
LCA president Fiona McLeod SC
Aug 17 2017
Where social fault lines meet the justice gap in Aus
After just returning from a tour of the Northern Territory, LCA president Fiona McLeod SC speaks wit...
APPOINTMENTS
Allens managing partner Richard Spurio, image courtesy Allens' website
Jun 21 2017
Promo season at Allens
A group of lawyers at Allens have received promotions across its PNG and Australian offices. ...
May 11 2017
Partner exits for in-house role
A Victorian lawyer has left the partnership of a national firm to start a new gig with state governm...
Esteban Gomez
May 11 2017
National firm recruits ‘major asset’
A national law firm has announced it has appointed a new corporate partner who brings over 15 years'...
opinion
Nicole Rich
May 16 2017
Access to justice for young transgender Australians
Reform is looming for the process that young transgender Australians and their families must current...
Geoff Roberson
May 11 2017
The lighter side of the law: when law and comedy collide
On the face of it, there doesn’t seem to be much that is amusing about the law, writes Geoff Rober...
Help
May 10 2017
Advocate’s immunity – without fear or without favour but not both
On 29 March 2017, the High Court handed down its decision in David Kendirjian v Eugene Lepore & ...