News and Insights
25 January 2017
Anyone involved in relationship breakdown needs to be extremely careful on social media
There is no doubt that social media in all its various forms now plays a huge part in our everyday lives. In turn, it is becoming more and more common for incriminating evidence elicited from social media accounts to feature in family court proceedings. Anyone involved in a relationship breakdown therefore needs to be extremely careful of their use of social media before, during and even after any court proceedings.
In 2014 a study found a clear correlation between social media and decreased marriage quality. A more recent survey in the UK showed that one in seven people had considered divorce because of social media. This is clearly a worrying trend. The common scenarios are people feeling that their partners were spending too much time on social media; or where one partner’s suspicions were aroused by photos that they have seen of their partner; or finding out that their partner had been in contact with an ex via social media.
Once the relationship actually breaks down everyone needs to be even more careful about how they use social media. It is essential to be well informed about what you should and should not do on these accounts, because information can easily be obtained from your social media accounts and be used against you.
These are our 10 best tips for avoiding social media entrapment:
- If you would not say it to your mother or your grandmother’s face, then don’t post it;
- Remember that anything you post on social media can be archived or printed. Once posted it will be there for ever, even if you delete it;
- Do not engage in angry conversations on social media (or over text) as these exchanges may well be used against you. Even if you are receiving nasty comments from your partner, remain calm and remember it is always better not to say anything in return, no matter how tempting it is;
- Possibly the most important tip is don’t ever post on social media after you have had a drink as you will almost certainly regret it in the morning. If you are still tempted to respond on social media then sleep on the points you wish to make. In the harsh light of day you may be feeling more careful and less emotional;
- You may be tempted to use social media to give the impression that you are having a great time (even if you’re not) to ‘get back’ at your ex, especially if you are the one who has been scorned. Do not risk it, as this may have a detrimental effect on your case;
- Be really cautious about what photographs you post. This particularly applies to seemingly innocent holiday snaps. These may be used as evidence of an affair, evidence that you are cohabiting or even evidence that you have more resources than you have disclosed;
- Beware of giving out any information about what you are spending your money on as this can be used to show that you have spare funds that should be going towards your partner or children;
- Do, however make sure that you save conversations, messages and comments if you feel they may be useful or helpful to your case;
- Do keep all of your accounts separate and secure to ensure that there is no possibility of your partner assessing your private information. It is advisable to change your passwords;
- Whatever you do, don’t share any details of your relationship breakdown online, even with close friends or family members.
As family law specialists, our best advice with regard to social media is to stay off it all together but this is almost certainly unrealistic in this digital age. Above all remember to pause and think before you post, as once you post something online it is there forever and it may come back to haunt you for many years to come.