Divorce By Social Media – What’s The Etiquette?

Divorce Social MediaSince its launch in the early 2000s, social media has changed the way we interact with the world. However, it has also become a platform for waging a war of reprisal against a former spouse or partner. In this article, we will outline what the law says on social media during divorce proceedings.

Divorce and social media

Divorce proceedings – unlike other types of legal proceedings – are private and should not be made public knowledge. Social media allows people to share what is happening in their lives and, therefore, they could announce they are divorcing provided they say nothing else.

However, even this is unwise and could give rise to an exchange of hostile letters between solicitors who feel that such an announcement on social media is grossly insensitive to their client – particularly if the party who is posting on social media is the one who wants the divorce.

It is not unusual for social media to be used as a platform for aggrieved ex-spouses or civil partners to denigrate the other. It may well be that the individual feels this is their personal platform and they have freedom of speech to post whatever they want. But any decent divorce lawyer will strongly advise against such behaviour.

How posting details regarding your divorce on social media can detrimentally impact your case

Discussing court proceedings online has the potential to seriously damage your case.

If intimate details of the divorce – such as accusations of adultery or unreasonable behaviour are posted – the individual could find themselves on the wrong end of an injunction and facing a significant costs order, particularly if the other spouse is well-known in the media.

This is hugely inflammatory and will colour the manner in which the financial settlement and the arrangements for the children are subsequently negotiated, almost certainly leading to increased costs for both parties.

Also, the individual will be at risk of being sued under civil law for defamation or libel, again with potential costs consequences, particularly if what they have posted arguably gives rise to reputational damage.

If you’re found to be in breach of either Section 97 of The Children Act 1989 or Family Procedure Rules 12.73 and 12.75, you could receive a custodial sentence for contempt of court.

Advice to divorcing couples

The fundamental principle that should guide those in the middle of divorce proceedings is not to use social media at all to publish anything to do with their divorce, even if they think what they are saying can be defended because it is true.

Divorces are painful and emotionally traumatic enough and should be conducted discreetly at all times, not least to avoid the horrific fall out of any child of the marriage reading about the ‘dirty laundry’ of their mum and dad’s marriage.

If anything should be an incentive to spouses to avoid becoming keyboard warriors over their divorce, the heartbreak, embarrassment and conflict such posts could cause to their child should be enough to stop them in their tracks.

How Nelsons can help?

Glynis Wright MBE is a specialist family law solicitor at Nelsons.

If you need advice on any divorce-related matter or have any other family law-related queries, please contact us and we will be happy to discuss your circumstances in more detail and give you more information about the services that our family law solicitors can provide along with details of our hourly rates and fixed fee services.

Glynis can be contacted on 0800 024 1976 or via our online enquiry form