7th August 2018
The unintended consequences of social media and family law.
As family lawyers we are seeing social media evidence being used in court on a weekly and often daily basis.
This is not surprising as it is now widely accepted that social media (including Facebook, Instagram and Twitter) is a part of our everyday lives.
While social media can be a great way to educate, communicate and catch up with friends and family it can be a very dangerous in a family law context. It should always be remembered by the parties in a family law dispute that anything that you post on social media may be used as evidence against you in Court.
The breakdown of marriage or relationship generally causes the parties involved intense emotional stress and can heighten tension.
In general, posting information on line when you are highly stressed and emotional is not a good idea. It may even be wise during this time of high stress and heightened emotion to limit or withdraw from using social media all together.
Our experience as family lawyers suggest that individuals are much more likely to post unpleasant negative messages to their partners on line than say it to their former partner's face.
It is a really bad idea to post negative or disparaging statements about your former spouse online. Such statements can only act to harm all involved. If you can't say anything nice, then do not say it at all!
It is also worthwhile considering that essentially once something is posted online it is there forever and this means that one day your children may see it. In summary, the parties in a family law dispute should avoid social media or certainly consider the impact of any statements made.
We would always advise our clients to avoid getting into arguments over social media but again the advice goes further than that. Below are a few examples which should be avoided.
- Do not post threats or intimidating comments or you could face police action or an injunction.
- Remember your privacy settings may be set to friends but your friends could have mutual friends and what we think is private may well not be and could be seen by the other party even if blocked.
- Don't post relationship about new relationships in the midst of a divorce as it can complicate matters.
- Avoid posting about holidays, meals out and so on whilst claiming you have limited monies in the midst of financial proceedings or child maintenance assessment.
- Don't boast about drinking or drug use unless you wish to face potential denial of contact with your children and/or testing to show your level of use.
- Don't post negative comments drawing others into your issues and connected private emotions.
- Remember your children may use such sites and may have access to your content possibly indirectly, which could cause them additional upset when they already feel stuck in the middle. When they are older posts will still be accessible.
At Roebucks our experienced family law team understand the emotional impact that family disputes cause and seek to support all our clients through difficult times to ensure they obtain the best possible long-term outcome.
We will always work within the Resolution Code of Practice by
- Reducing or managing any conflict and confrontation; for example, by not using inflammatory language.
- Supporting and encouraging families to put the best interests of any children first.
- Acting with honesty, integrity and objectivity.
- Helping clients understand and manage the potential long-term financial and emotional consequences of decisions.
- Listening to and treating everyone with respect and without judgment.
- Using our experience and knowledge to guide clients through the options available to them.
- Continually developing our knowledge and skills.
- Using the Resolution Guides to Good Practice in our day-to-day work.
We are able to provide specialist family advice in all the key areas of separation and divorce, finances, child law and support.
We have specialist lawyers in all of our offices in Blackburn, Accrington, Clitheroe and Leyland so please call us and arrange an appointment at an office convenient for you.