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So many aspects of our lives are now shared with our friends, family, and even complete strangers on social media that it can be difficult to know when to stop sharing. Gemma Iceton, divorce and family law specialist solicitor at Browell Smith & Co looks at some of the pitfalls associated with using social media while you’re going through a divorce.
Social media has become an important part of our lives – we rely on it to keep in touch with friends and family, for news, for entertainment, as a break from reality and, sometimes, as a means of venting our anger or frustrations.
Because we use social media every day, it can be difficult to stop using it when we need to. However, when you’re going through a divorce, it can be tempting to use social media in a way that might harm your own case.
This is the Browell Smith & Co guide to making sure you don’t do anything on social media during a divorce that you may come to regret later.
Remember, social media posts can be used as evidence in a divorce case and are admissible in court: this might be as part of financial negotiations, to demonstrate character flaws, or as proof of unreasonable behaviour or infidelity.
For example, claiming you have a low wage, but posting pictures of yourself shopping regularly or on an expensive holiday, could cause your claim to be contested.
It is important to make sure that you never post anything that contradicts something you are later hoping to rely on in court or during negotiations.
Also, and this is generally good advice, you should never defame (post something that is both damaging and false) somebody online, whether you’re going through a divorce or not.
When emotions are flying high, it can be tempting to use social media to vent your anger. Perhaps you feel like you want your partner’s family or friends to hear your side of things.
It’s really not a good idea. No matter what the other person in your relationship has done, try to avoid posting in anger. Put your phone down, take deep breaths, go for a walk, or have a phone conversation with a close friend. In short, anything that stops you publishing that post.
Just keep your dignity and stay calm – you’ll thank yourself for it later.
You might know their passwords but using them to access somebody’s email or message accounts is not ok – even if you are gathering evidence of infidelity, for example. It’s not legal to do this, the evidence is unlikely to be admissible in court, and doing so will reflect badly on you.
If your relationship has reached a volatile point and it’s become difficult to converse in a civil fashion, then you could consider blocking them. If you feel it’s the right course of action, then its fine to do so – especially if it will prevent arguments from escalating further.
However, if you have managed to remain civil to each other so far, then the act of blocking could antagonise and disrupt the relationship further so consider whether or not to do it carefully – there are alternatives
If blocking your ex-partner seems severe, then you consider hiding their updates or muting them, so you won’t see their posts in your feed or receive notifications about their activity or messages.
You can find out more about divorce services from Browell Smith & Co’s family law team here.
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