01 May 2015
The “Facebook Divorce” – Be Careful What You Post
Social Media is an ever growing feature of our lives. It’s a way to find and keep in touch with old friends, it’s a way to make new friends and it’s also a way to update your friends and family about what’s going on in your life. You can also find out what’s going on in other people’s lives.
When posting anything online, you need to be wary of the fact that once it’s online, it’s there forever, even if you delete it. This goes for comments, photos, and articles, anything that can be posted or uploaded online.
Due to this ever-increasing presence of social media, it is increasingly becoming a feature in divorce cases and those relating to arrangements for children.
Postings made on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or other social media can provide evidence to support concerns or beliefs that a client may have about their former spouse or partner. Examples might include where they reveal that they are in a new relationship which has been denied by them during proceedings or that they are working when it has been their claim that they are without a job.
Even if you and your former partner are no longer connected through social media it is likely you will still have mutual friends and connections. It is through these sources that information is often produced.
Another danger can be if you are tagged or appear in photographs or postings made by friends. This can create problems within your family law case if these show you have not been truthful. Examples might be when they conflict with where you have said you are taking a holiday with your children or who is on that trip.
It is also important to ensure you are not abusive or offensive in your posts. You may otherwise find them used against you at a later stage as evidence of your behaviour.
Even if postings have been deleted it may be possible for forensic experts to retrieve them. Removing your comments may not therefore protect you.
Social media can also cause conflict between parents in respect of children. One parent may not agree that photographs should be posted on a social media site particularly if for example it belongs to a new partner.
Is it Legal to Obtain a Person’s Information from a Google Search?
Put simply, yes it is perfectly legal to obtain information about someone by doing a Google search. As the information in Google is considered as being in the public domain, the information is not deemed to be private, regardless of privacy settings on social media that do not always work.
Principal Family Lawyer Vicki McLynn says of the use of social media in Court cases, ”We always advise clients to be extremely cautious about the use of social media when going through a divorce or other family case. Postings create a permanent written record and can be powerful evidence.”
For more information, see our related blog: Social Media: Is it a Threat to your Marriage?.
Slater and Gordon Lawyers UK have one of the largest Family Law teams specialising in all areas of Family and Divorce Law. For an initial consultation with an expert family lawyer, call freephone 0800 916 9055 or contact us online and we will call you.
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