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Social Media in Family Matters

As a family lawyer, I regularly deal with people who are going through a difficult relationship breakdown and who are struggling to communicate with their ex-partner/spouse.

More often, matters are made more difficult by the use of social media. Whether it is used by one party to be negative about or towards the other, or whether details of a dispute (confidential or not), are being posted online. When social media has an impact on family matters it raises the level of contention and takes a private dispute into a potentially public forum. You do not know who may have access to that information regardless of your privacy settings.

This can especially be an issue where there are ongoing Court proceedings.  Copies of documents regarding the case should never be put online. During a family matter, personal and sensitive information is dealt with and you will be criticised should you post details about your case or discuss it online. Equally, using social media to be unpleasant towards your ex-partner/spouse amounts to harassment and can damage your case.  

All that would be achieved in these situations is to raise the level of contention and the risk of criticism both from the other solicitor and the Court, which in turn could lead to a different outcome than the one you are trying to achieve. Whilst it is very easy to post or comment about your case, especially if you are unhappy with how it is going, it is never worth it and you can never be sure who else will see what you have put up.

No Judge wants to read through pages of printouts from the internet, they want to focus on the facts of the case. If they have to do this then you risk increasing your legal fees and taking the focus away from the main points of your case. As tempting as it might be to post, tweet, comment or share – close your browser or turn off the app and remember that it will likely only make the problem worse even if you feel better in the moment!

If you are finding that your ex-partner/spouse is posting details about your case or being nasty online then each social media website has its own system for making a report or requesting that the post or comment be deleted, when social media is used inappropriately you should not be afraid to do this. If you are being harassed online then you should also tell your solicitor as they may be able to help.

Ultimately family matters are best dealt with via negotiations (whether direct or via solicitors), mediation, collaborative law, arbitration or through the Courts if no agreement can be reached.

At Eric Robinson we can either offer legal advice to you if you are unfortunate enough to encounter this issue, or we can offer a mediation service where we would meet with you and your ex partner/spouse  in an attempt to settle the matter between you to keep matters as amicable as possible.  Call us on 023 8042 5024/023 8025 4676 for more information.