Divorce in the Digital Age

21 March 2024

By Bethany Clune

Current  at March 2024

When faced with a topic we are unfamiliar with or that we find daunting, more than ever before, we have tendency to go online and “do our own research”, arm ourselves with knowledge and draw our own conclusions before making a decision that is right for us.

We may read about the lived experiences and opinions of others who are going through or have gone through the same experiences as we are faced with, find out what did or did not work for them and use that information to inform our own actions.

Instant access to a plethora of information in the palm of your hand at any time of the day is what leads us to Google our ailments, attempt to self-diagnose our medical conditions and inform ourselves of details of political crises and world events, as opposed to more traditional methods of gathering information or advice.

Google searches for the word “divorce” reached a new record in Australia in January 2021, the peak of popularity for the search term over the past 5 years.[1]  

The keyword search of the word “separation” peaked in popularity in March 2020 for the last 5 years in Australia.[2]

Those increases are likely attributed to the pressure relationships were under in the context of extended lockdowns, job losses and general emotional distress in the COVID-19 pandemic and in the context of those considering a separation or in the midst of one already being unable to see a lawyer in person due to physical distancing restrictions.   

However, a consequence of the pandemic is that individuals who were already constantly online became extremely isolated and inward-facing.

There are many Facebook groups in Western Australia alone which state that their objective is to provide support and a forum for parties to Family Court cases to ask questions and receiving answers in relation to family law matters, including those who intend to attempt to self-represent in their Family Court proceedings.

Given that the information in these forums is based on one person or group of people’s specific, individualised experience, for obvious reasons, the advice provided on these platforms cannot be relied upon. 

That people who are going through a stressful life event and are in a highly vulnerable state may be relying on this advice in any meaningful way, is concerning.

In posting details of their proceedings online, parties to Family Court litigation risk breaching section 121 of the Family Law Act 1975 (Cth) if the posts identify a party to the proceedings, a person who is related to or associated with a party to the proceedings (or alleged to be in any other way concerned in the matter to which the proceedings relate), or a witness in the proceedings. 

Before you, your friend, or family member Google, it is important to bear in mind that nothing will entirely or adequately replace obtaining tailored legal advice from an experienced Australian legal practitioner for those considering separating or are already going through a separation.

The conclusion of a marriage is never an easy thing. If you are experiencing any problems relating to your separation or divorce, please seek the assistance of a qualified legal practitioner.

We’re Here to Help

O’Sullivan Davies has practitioners experienced in divorce proceedings for parties married locally or overseas and can provide advice in relation to same. More information about our services can be found at our About Us page here.


This article is not legal advice and the views and comments are of a general nature only. This article is not to be relied upon in substitution for detailed legal advice.

If you would like to republish this article, please contact us prior to doing so at info@osullivandavies.com.au.


[1] Google Trends data accessed on 12 January 2024. https://trends.google.com/trends/explore?date=today%205-y&geo=AU&q=divorce&hl=en-US

[2] Google Trends data accessed on 12 January 2024 https://trends.google.com/trends/explore?date=today%205-y&geo=AU&q=separation&hl=en-US