SO­LIC­I­TORS’ COM­MENTS

Cheshire Life - - Legal Life -

We find so­cial me­dia and dat­ing apps are play­ing an in­creas­ing role in di­vorce pro­ceed­ings, es­pe­cially as a rea­son for sep­a­ra­tion. While so­cial me­dia can be used to ev­i­dence some­one’s as­sets, it is much more im­por­tant on di­vorce to seek ex­pert ad­vice. At Vardags we are adept in un­der­tak­ing a de­tailed anal­y­sis of your spouse’s fi­nan­cial ma­trix. If your spouse has com­pli­cated as­sets or a busi­ness it is cru­cial you talk to us. Amy Har­ris Se­nior As­so­ciate, Vardags, Manch­ester 0161 956 3838 ahar­ris@vardags.com

We have, as so­lic­i­tors, for many years in­cluded a warn­ing to our clients about the use of so­cial me­dia. Not just in the con­text of di­vorce pro­ceed­ings but also chil­dren’s mat­ters and do­mes­tic abuse cases. In­for­ma­tion posted on so­cial me­dia can be­come very pub­lic even where you con­sider your pri­vacy set­tings to be at the high­est, as there is al­ways some­one who is ready to ‘snitch’! My ad­vice there­fore is al­ways to de­sist from post­ing any­thing you would not be happy for a Judge to see.

Dur­ing a di­vorce, so­cial me­dia can be a help or a hin­drance. I of­ten find clients do not re­alise a so­cial me­dia post can be­come ev­i­dence in court. In or­der to pro­tect them­selves, I ad­vise clients to stay away from their so­cial ac­counts un­til the case is fi­nalised. For those clients con­cerned their ex is hid­ing as­sets, their on­line life can re­veal a very dif­fer­ent life­style and sup­port the case.

Face­book is of­ten cited in di­vorce pe­ti­tions, how­ever the role so­cial me­dia plays can have a last­ing im­pact well be­yond the di­vorce pa­pers; hav­ing a sig­nif­i­cant ef­fect upon dis­tri­bu­tion of as­sets. It may not be the spouses them­selves flaunt­ing their lav­ish life­styles on­line; sites like In­sta­gram have be­come the place for af­flu­ent young­sters to boast of su­per­cars, yachts and pri­vate jets, un­wit­tingly ex­pos­ing their par­ents to scru­tiny from di­vorce lawyers! He­len Miller Manag­ing Part­ner Stowe Fam­ily Law, Al­trin­cham He­len.miller@stowe­fam­i­ly­law.co.uk 0161 822 8073 He­len Oakes So­lic­i­tor, Butcher & Bar­low 01928 733871 hoakes@butcher-bar­low.co.uk Georgina Chase, Fam­ily Lawyer, Slater and Gor­don 0161 383 3500 Georgina.chase@slater­gor­don.co.uk

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