An article in The Times on Saturday 15 January 2011 echoed a blog I posted on 6 January 2011. Sadly, each year we see an increased trend in the number of divorce enquiries we receive in the first part of the year. This year has been no exception, with a number of new clients through the door in the first few weeks of January.
Many of those seeking our advice cite examples of unreasonable behaviour as the reason why the marriage has irretrievably broken down. In order to persuade the court of this, it is necessary within a Divorce Petition to list examples of the unreasonable behaviour. The test is whether the ordinary, everyday man or woman on the street would find the behaviour unreasonable. Over the years, we at Clarion have done a number of such Divorce Petitions. Historically, a classic example would be the used of the site “Friends Reunited” where spouses would often find old flames and either embark on an affair or at least cause suspicions in relation to flirting, sending emails etc. It now seems Facebook has taken on as something being cited in divorce petitions. People frequently post photographs, messages etc that being public documents, to be seen by all. We have seen the use of Facebook for people airing their dirty laundry, and often learn a great deal of what the other spouse is doing or thinking by their Facebook pages and Facebook status!
A sad but true side of effect of an increasing use of social media is that people are meeting and connecting with others, in an easier way then in the past. Be it a flirty email; a comment on a photograph; we are certainly finding that more and more people are citing “Facebook” or other sites as a reason for the breakdown of the marriage.
Justine Osmotherley is a Partner in the Family Team at Clarion and can be contacted on 0113 336 3323 – firstname.lastname@example.org
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