Nowadays everyone has some kind of social media account, whether it be Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Google+, from grandparent to grandchild, all generations are getting online and sharing their lives. The use of the internet and social media can be a great way to keep families in touch, sharing photographs and information about their daily lives. However, social media can also be used to air one's 'dirty laundry'.
The internet is a wide spread sphere of free speech. Anyone can say anything they like and usually do without thinking about the consequences. Posting of material on social media can be taken completely out of context and is generally posted before thinking.
This happens especially when people are under emotional stress. Such emotional stress can stem from events like the breakdown of a marriage or relationship, or during a custody battle over children. It is human nature to want to share and express our feelings during these emotionally tough times. This can lead to you posting quotes and statuses on your social media pages which might be thought to be inappropriate and used as evidence against you in family court proceedings at a later date.
At Andersons Solicitors we advise our clients going through a family law matter to ensure that they do not post anything on their social media accounts which is disparaging regarding themselves or any children of the relationship, as it may be and likely will be used against them by the other party.
You should also request that your family and friends ensure they do not post anything which may have an adverse consequence on your family law proceedings. Our clients regularly provide us with information from the other party's Facebook account which we examine and find of assistance in relation to supporting our client's case. It is also not unusual for the party on the other side to be doing the same in relation to our client's Facebook account.
Examples of things to avoid posting include:
- Posting about your new partner and comparing them to your old partner;
- Uploading pictures from your recent vacation which was paid for with the joint credit card;
- Posting pictures of yourself out partying, especially when it is time when you are the parent with the care of the children of the relationship;
- Posting nasty and denigrating statuses about the other party, their family or friends;
- Posting private details about the Court proceedings.
You may think you can avoid any of the information you post online getting out by blocking your former partner from accessing your social media accounts however, it is generally very easy for them to access your account through mutual friends or through using a child or relative's account. It is therefore extremely important to try and limit the amount of personal information you place on the internet when you are a party to a family law matter.
If the temptation is too much it may be best to deactivate your account for a few months until everything has calmed down and your family law matter has been resolved. The use of social media evidence in family law proceedings is becoming more and more common. If you do not want to be caught out, do not get online!