To Tweet or not to Tweet – that is the question? Family law
The recent headlines in the Anthony McPartlin and Lisa Armstrong divorce highlight the effect and impact that social media is now playing in the area of marriage and relationship breakdown.
Following the recent decree nisi pronouncement between the couple, the press has reported that Anthony McPartlin’s lawyers had sent a letter to Lisa Armstrong demanding that no further responses are made by her to negative or insulting tweets about his new partner Ann-Marie.
Lisa Armstrong had “liked” and commented on tweets by third parties, about Anne-Marie, which had included tweets calling Anne-Marie a “husband’s stealer” and “cretin”.
It has to be emphasised that these are comments made by Lisa Armstrong to posts already on social media, and yet even so, this is bringing retaliatory action by her husband in the already fraught divorce proceedings between them.
A CensusWide survey in 2015 showed that one in 7 divorces had been triggered by items appearing on social media. As all forms of social media have become even more popular in the last 2 to 3 years, it is not unrealistic to believe that this figure will not have reduced and in fact may have increased.
Several surveys over the last 2 to 3 years have shown that all forms of social media (whether it be Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, or Instagram) are considered by a large number of people to be an area where damage to their marriage or relationship is caused.
An American study by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers reported in 2010 that they had seen an increase in social media being cited in divorce and that Facebook had become the singular most used source for discovering evidence against spouses.
Pamela Arrowsmith, a specialist Family solicitor says that “My clients are frequently bringing to me printed pages, particularly from Facebook, which can be used as evidence in matrimonial and family proceedings including photographs which have been posted. What advice would I give to anyone in a relationship or marriage about using social media: –
- Check all of your privacy settings and remember that if you do not want the world to see your post, it is best not to post it at all.
- Remember that any post you make can be printed off before you delete such a post and can be used in evidence against you.
- Do not use social media as a way of “getting things off your chest”. Often posts on social media which are made in the heat of the moment are likely to be inflammatory and likely to cause a backlash. This may also have legal consequences including payment of legal costs claimed against you.
- Be particularly careful of posting photographs of your children especially with your new partner as this can cause distress. It is always the best course to check with your spouse or ex spouse or partner before taking this action.”
If you require any assistance with regard to divorce, financial or children matters then please contact Pam Arrowsmith on 0121 227 3850 or email@example.com, or Jasdeep Nagra on 0121 227 3860 or firstname.lastname@example.org