Social media can reveal hidden assets
Posting images of glamorous nights out and holidays on social media can come at a cost, warns family law expert Elspeth Kinder
There is no doubt that divorce, however amicable, is one of life’s most testing experiences. Yet when either party seeks to deceive, the upset and stress increases tenfold. It isn’t unusual to hear of spouses deceiving the court with incorrect financial accounts and claims of poverty. Unfortunately, money, property and assets are frequently hidden in an attempt to arrive at a more favourable financial settlement.
There are a number of methods to uncover hidden wealth, yet often the most fruitful method is the most easily accessible - social media.
Images shared on social media are regularly used as evidence in divorce cases - spouses claim to be penniless in court but show off new cars, expensive holidays and lavish gifts on Instagram and Facebook. Summer holiday season often sees images appearing on social media which can be used as evidence in court.
Holidays are a time when people relax, let their hair down and try to leave their worries at home - including, it seems, divorce proceedings. While they are away enjoying themselves on holiday they fail to appreciate the enormity of posting certain images onto a public forum - images that could land them in hot water and see their settlement figure soar.
Those who aren’t social media users are often foiled by unwitting family members and friends, who post images of their trip with prized hidden assets in the frame.
Even if a case is long-since settled, social media could evidence assets hidden from the courts during the financial settlement process, enabling the terms of the settlement to be entirely renegotiated.
For anyone who suspects their husband or wife is concealing money or assets, social media could be the key to unlocking the evidence. It’s important to not only keep an eye on their individual profile, but also those of family, friends and even work colleagues. If something relevant is posted, always take a screenshot and save it in a secure file. Don’t wait for the evidence to disappear.
The real moral of the story is don’t attempt to deceive the court and hide assets - a painful lesson that many divorcing spouses will no doubt learn over the coming weeks as the real cost of their summer break becomes apparent.
Joint Head of Family Law at JMW Solicitors LLP T. 0161 828 8384 E. Elspeth.email@example.com W. www.jmw.co.uk