Shuduppa your Facebook? Or a “need to know”?
The revelation from a solicitor’s firm that Facebook is a factor in around two-thirds of divorce cases is something which resonates with Wrigley Claydon’s family lawyers in Oldham and probably with all family solicitors up and down the country.
From complaints that “he’s changed his Facebook status” to posted messages leading to misunderstandings, the social media revolution is creating all sorts of problems within relationships. It is no surprise that when people approach their family lawyers for advice about relationship breakdown, finances or children issues references to social media, particularly in relation to communications, are frequently raised in discussions.
Wrigley Claydon’s family law team are no different in their experiences of such issues being raised while conducting cases.
So what can you do?
Firstly, be aware of what you are posting and who might access it, especially if the persons with whom it is being shared may pass on the information. Something as innocuous as information about a planned holiday, a school event, a social gathering, and photographs can all in fact contain and convey an awful lot more information than might have been intended.
Secondly, it’s probably worth building into your own approach some sort of delay so that whilst the tendency is always to respond immediately to something you’ve read or seen, a little time to think about this can make sure you give a more measured response, whatever that might be.
Thirdly, is it worth doing something which involves hiding or concealing information or facts? Family lawyers dealing with financial matters are telling their clients that the court in such cases expects each party to make a full and frank disclosure of their financial circumstances. If you fail to do so and are caught out by something on Facebook or some similar social media, then not only does it highlight the lack of openness and honesty in relation to that issue, but it raises a more general question about your credibility eg “you didn’t tell us about that, what else haven’t you told us about? How can we trust what you’ve told us about other things?”
There’s no doubt that social media activity will continue to be a major part of our lives – but we need to think carefully and probably more often about our communications in whatever form they take and the possible consequences.