Divorce cases being driven by digital footprints
We’ve all done it. Said something we shouldn’t have. Embarrassed ourselves unintentionally. Given in to guilty pleasure. Watched Made in Chelsea. It’s ok (or at least it used to be). We’re all human. And it was probably the only thing on tv, right?
Once upon a time such things were merely a concern of direct witnesses (if any), you, and the depths of your creaking conscience. In a world of Facebook, Instagram and Twitter – not so. Thanks to the joys of social media, these are now a celebrated centrepiece of most people’s online persona.
Seemingly oblivious to self-censorship, such platforms simply serve to encourage attention seeking, and the broadcast of meaningless cyber-babble. Its enough to turn one into a cynical pariah pining for the good old days before you could ‘tweet’, ‘snapchat’ or ‘reddit’. Once upon a time, in this peaceful utopia the world was mercifully shielded from the insight of [insert famous-for-the-sake-of-being-famous Geordie Shore celebrity name here].
The ‘Facebook Fail’, or faux pas, if you want to dress it up. The quintessential modern manifestation of the previously private mortifying moments that are now etched into internet infamy (Who said ‘right to be forgotten?’…shoosh, some of these things are genuine gold), certain Facebook postings might be the source of your downfall in an altogether unexpected fashion.
On this more serious note, wading through such social media skeletons are a growing band of potential divorcees and their legal teams. A recent survey found that information found on Facebook featured in a third of divorce cases they analysed. Mined for details of potential new relationships, extravagant expenditure and infidelity, Facebook, it appears, is the new frontier in family law dirt digging.
Details of bonuses, job offers and holiday plans posted in blissful ignorance on Facebook can contradict cries of austerity in court. Posts and pictures, often with geo-tagging in tow, hinting at new relationships can call the credibility of a sneaky spouse into question. Rich pickings are there for anyone crafty enough to know where to look. Sometimes, as we’ve explored, you don’t have to look far.
Who knew lawyers were such fervent Facebook stalkers? Now that’s a disconcerting thought.
As social media logs more and more of our lives, the trail it leaves behind is something worth contemplating whether divorce is on your mind or not. Evidence of a lifestyle that contradicts that which someone is otherwise trying to portray is everywhere. Facebook’s increasing inclusion in family law actions is an acknowledgement of this…and perhaps a lamentable decline in the boundaries of what people think is acceptable to share with the outside world.