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Divorce by Social Media

Contents from social media sites are now cited in a third of divorce cases and its use is on the increase! Ratcliffe & Bibby explain why you may want to think carefully about what you post and share.

Today’s technology is used within the court room to create a picture of activity such as an affair or unreasonable behaviour by couples that require evidence to support their applications.

Most evidence which is filled is from Facebook and it is like the 300lb Gorilla in the room. Almost every month at Ratcliffe & Bibby we see a client who has been left for someone that their spouse has met or reconnected with online.

People friendly as Facebook is, a percentage of users chronicle their lives on it, and it is a virtual treasure trove relevant to divorce lawyers and those dealing with child access cases. People forget that it is just not the words they write that could be used against them, but the photographs they post and those of friends who can and do ‘tag’ people into them. This can and does trigger disharmony and ultimately can be used against you.

The damage does not stop there. Former spouses will often reveal details about their new relationships before divorce proceedings and financial settlements are concluded, often causing negotiations to deteriorate, possibly with one party getting considerably less than they originally anticipated.

Divorcing couples are obliged to tell the truth about their finances before a financial settlement is reached. However, piecemeal disclosure of information about a spouse’s relationships or finances will often antagonise the other divorcing party which can cause a serious deterioration in already sensitive negotiations. Divorcing couples should therefore exercise caution and consider ‘unfriending’ their spouse in a ‘social media’ sense before it costs them more than they bargained for.

We’ve seen social media evidence in every type of case our firm handles, especially family law cases. If you’re involved in a legal case, here’s the rule on social media…………………. DON’T USE IT!

Anything you text, tweet, or post on Facebook “Can and Will be used against you”.

PROTECT  YOURSELF with a Prenuptial Agreement

A prenuptial agreement is basically an agreement made by a couple before they become married. The agreement sets out how they would like their assets split if they ever separate.

Around 50% of all marriages now end in divorce and furthermore family courts have large powers to re-distribute family property. Therefore prenuptial agreements are becoming more popular throughout the UK.

After marriage all of a couples assets become what are known as matrimonial assets, a prenuptial agreement is designed to limit any claims on any of those assets by the other party if the marriage does end. Although prenuptial agreements are currently unenforceable when properly drafted it can be used as highly persuasive evidence in court to indicate how a couple agreed to split assets before they became married. This obviously can have a large effect on the way things are distributed if the marriage ends, furthermore existing prenuptial agreements could become enforceable in the UK in the future.

Prenuptial agreements can be used in a variety of different situations, such as protecting assets that are owned before a marriage, inherited assets and any legacies to children from previous marriages. Whether remarrying later in life or entering into a marriage with your partner you should consider the benefits of a prenuptial agreement.

Prenuptial agreements are now binding in English Law and thus serious consideration and legal advice needs to be taken regarding the use of any such agreement.


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