23rd February 2016

To Post or not to Post, that is the Question.

What you post on Facebook can have serious implications if you are going through a separation. Image: www.oxslaw.com


There’s no doubt about it. Facebook has created a virtual stage for pouty selfies, glamorous check-ins and endless #tags. And, with over one billion active users, it’s a pretty big stage.

Facebook’s mission, when founded back in 2004 was to ‘give people the powerto share and express what matters to them.’

Sharing information on Facebook can be a great way to stay in touch with friends and family. If you are separating from a partner or spouse then you may be tempted to keep your Facebook friends updated. You might even want to show off your fabulous new lifestyle, whether you are happily single or loved up in a new relationship.

Think about what you are posting

However, there are some serious disadvantages to Facebook, particularly if you are going through a separation. Your life could be under scrutiny and anything you post could come back to haunt you. Even if you subsequently delete a post, someone may already have taken a screen shot or saved it. Remember, it is very difficult to delete your digital footprint.

By way of example, in Scotland, a cohabitant was found to be lacking any credibility whatsoever when she told the court she was not in employment. She had previously posted on (and then deleted from) Facebook information which confirmed she was in fact working. Unlucky for her, her opponent had already copied the posts before she deleted them. Her Facebook posts undoubtedly had a major impact on the financial outcome of her case.

The best option is to have a break from Facebook altogether. If you can’t bear to be disconnected then make sure you thoroughly review your privacy settings.

If you have to post, then don’t post anything untrue, exaggerated or inconsistent. Consider when posting if you would be happy for everyone – including the court, your ex-partner and your lawyer – to see the post.

Be aware that your posts and information on your page could be used as evidence of your lifestyle and spending habits, your behaviour and parenting practice. Don’t make light hearted comments about drink, drugs or irresponsible behaviour, even if in jest. Evidence could even be gathered about a new relationship which you may have formed. It is better not to intimate a change in relationship status on your Facebook page.

Be mindful that posts could cause conflict and emotional damage. Separation is difficult enough without making it harder. Posts of new partners and children, for example, could simply antagonise an already painful situation.

Think who you are posting to

You should also be mindful about who your friends are. Are your Facebook friends really your friends or are they your ex-partners friends or just acquaintances? Could they use your Facebook as a way to get their hands on information you would rather not share?

The Family Law team at Blackadders are experienced in dealing with all issues raised in this blog. For further information contact one of our team.

Debbie Reekie 
Senior Solicitor – Family Law



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