Social media has, over the last decade, grown to the extent that it can have a massive impact on our daily lives. The amount we allow social media into our lives can be a positive or a negative thing. It can be as innocent as posting pictures of what we have had for dinner or declaring what a wonderful holiday we had with our family. However at the other end of the scale matters which used to be private and kept within the ‘four walls’ of the family home are now being put on public display, often with negative effects. For example this weekend Amir Khan and his wife Faryal used social media to initially announce their separation but this soon descended into a full blown ‘twitter battle’ for all to see. Even though Faryal deleted all but one of her tweets shortly after by then it was too late.
Separation from a partner can be a very personal and painful experience that previously was something people kept to themselves or spoke to friends and family about face to face. However the use of social media is becoming a more acceptable platform on which to air grievances, when actually our advice is that it should be avoided at all costs. In court proceedings we frequently exhibit texts, emails and quite often social media posts on facebook, twitter and other such social media platforms, where perhaps people haven’t thought before they have hit the enter button. People often forget that even if they have blocked their ex, that ex has friends of friends who still have access to your account. Or for example you are tagged in a holiday picture of a user who is still friends with your ex.
We would promote not putting anything ‘out there’ that could first and foremost damage your relationship with your ex-partner, especially when you have children together. Where couples have children together whether they like it or not, they are going to have a link to each other’s lives forever. They will share graduations, weddings, christenings and grandchildren, and so to maintain some level of amicable relationship is something you should try and aim to achieve. Social media is an easy fall back to vent feelings when you are upset or angry and may seem harmless at the time if you think your ex-partner won’t see it, but believe us when we say the chances are that one way or another they will find out about it. Something that you posted in the heat of the moment or being caught out in something that you were not honest about, can ruin what was a fairly amicable relationship and take months if not years to repair.
A further problem is disclosure. For example where married couples separate and enter into court proceedings in respect of their finances, there is an obligation to provide full and frank disclosure. If your social media persona matches what you are disclosing then great, but if it promotes a different way of life or discloses you are doing something you had previously denied this will certainly do more harm to your case than good.
Our advice would be to try and agree with your ex-partner what, if anything, you are going to post about the ending of your relationship, and indeed each other now or in the future and stick to it. Chris Pratt and Anna Faris who also separated this weekend seem to have done exactly that and are an example of what to do when using social media in the event of separation rather than what not to do.