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Social media evidence used in divorce cases

A large proportion of people now use social media, and many of them are extremely open about what they are doing – often believing that the posts, images and other material they upload cannot easily be found by those they don’t want to see them. In other cases, social media can be used to uncover information that people have inadvertently made public. (For example, users have little say over what other people post, and may themselves divulge information unwittingly through geo-tagging.)Such information is now being used to establish facts in a growing number of divorces. A recent survey found that information found on Facebook featured in around a third of cases, with Twitter, Instagram and other services providing further material. Posts on social media can be used to establish many factors that are relevant in a divorce case. Apart from the most obvious mistakes, such as posting details of an extramarital relationship or pictures suggesting one, posts may suggest or indicate income that the spouse did not previously know about, and that might be included in a settlement. Geo-tagging, a relatively new phenomenon, is often switched on – thanks to GPS technology built into smartphones – and forgotten about. This can then record details of a person’s movements, without them realising it. If these do not match the story given to the spouse there may be reason for suspicion.Moreover, evidence on social media and elsewhere on the web is hard to remove. Digital footprints are long-lasting, and the electronic trail is straightforward to follow for those with a little time and patience. The web has enabled easy communication, and many people have started affairs online. Divorcing couples should be aware that material they posted online, believing it to be private or inaccessible, can and quite possibly will be, used as evidence to support their spouse’s case.Have you been affected by a relationship breakdown? Talk to us. We are experienced family law specialists and can give you the expert advice you need. Call 01302 320621 or email

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