Social Media & Divorce - A Continuing Trend
Social Media has become increasingly popular and more widespread in its use and research suggests that it is also being used as evidence in cases involving separating couples. Tilly Bailey & Irvine's family law experts explain more....
More than often nowadays, celebrity divorces dominate social media when it is brought into the public eye.
More worrying, however, is the fact that Facebook and Twitter have become a significant threat to marriage with social media now a factor in an increasing number of divorce cases. Research suggests that one in seven married couples have considered divorce as a result of their spouse’s postings on Facebook or other online sites and it appears to be on the increase.
Research also shows that spouses often admit that they search online for evidence of their partner’s infidelity.
Social media is the new marriage minefield with it being used as evidence in divorce proceedings, specifically pictures and posts on Facebook.
The survey by Censuswide among 2,011 husbands and wives, found the most common reasons for checking their spouse’s social media accounts was to discover who they were talking to, who they were meeting and where they were going which, when confronted by the spouse, can often result in devastating consequences. Arguments can be provoked by contact with former partners, sending of secret messages and by posting ‘inappropriate’ pictures.
As a family lawyer, I have often looked at the Facebook status updates which clients have emailed me in relation to issues of harassment or contemplation of divorce proceedings
The now obsolete Friends Reunited appeared to start a trend for meeting up with old friends and that method was cited in various reasons surrounding the breakdown of a marriage previously.
Care needs to be taken by everyone as to why they choose to post on social media especially if there are financial or children proceedings either contemplated or underway. All social media posts, locations and messages can be construed or misconstrued by a party wanting to keep tabs on someone’s spending, raise questions about substance or alcohol abuse or how children are being cared for and to prove employment or cohabitation, all of which will undoubtedly be supplied to lawyers as evidence during proceedings.
Whilst it is sometimes understandable to vent frustration at an ex- partner on social media, this will always create more problems. What goes online tends to stay somewhere online and, even if deleted, can already have been screenshot and therefore used. Text messages, Facebook and Twitter evidence can provide a clear picture to the Court of how co-operative or not, or how reasonable or not a person is.
Before posting consider whether that is the picture you would wish the world or the Court to see of you?
Social media can obviously also impact in many other ways and have significant dire consequences. One recent example being when Twitter’s value dropped by £5 billion after its poor financial results were accidentally posted on its own site!
Great care therefore should be given to anything posted on Social Media.
To discuss family matters, our team of Teesside solicitors are here to help you. Whether it be divorce and separation, child arrangements or more complex matters including abuse, call us on 0333 444 4422.