Social Media in Divorce or Separation
Social media and online communication can be both a joy and a minefield. At its best it can connect family and friends in far flung places and be a great way to keep up to date and stay in touch. At its worst it can lead to all sorts of problems and unhappiness if not used carefully or without full understanding or consideration.
This is not least the case when people are separating or separated and in dispute with each other.
In this age of social media, those who utilise these platforms and are in the process of separating need to think carefully about what they post online and who can access it. Actually, even if you aren’t in the midst of a relationship breakdown this is a good thing to consider.
Dealing with family law means I see social media referenced regularly. I would urge people to think about the following points from a privacy and security point of view, and to consider the potential repercussions:
1. Access – I often have people tell me that their accounts are on the highest privacy settings but in fact they are open and can be seen by those unconnected with them. This means the whole world (quite literally) can see what they have written about their ex-partner, or see photos of them or their children. Regularly double check who can see those posts and photos. Those settings can sometimes change without you having realised.
2. Passwords – When separating remember to change passwords on all online accounts so they cannot be accessed by a third party thereby compromising your privacy.
3. Public content – It is very important to know that, if privacy settings are not secure and others have access, that those photos from last weekend, the funny joke you added, the comments you made on a friend’s post, as well as your own posts, can be produced in a formal arena such as the court and potentially used against you.
4. Location, location, location – If your location settings are switched on and open, they will provide information about where you are and when. This is information you may well wish to remain private.
The key is to ensure you understand how to safely operate whatever online platform you use and to be aware that potentially what you post can have an impact upon ongoing court proceedings.
If you need help or advice in dealing with a relationship breakdown then I or the team will be happy to help. Call us on 01752 203500 to discuss further.
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