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Separation in the age of the internet

We undoubtedly live in a digital age. We bank and shop online and we download music, movies and television. Email and text message are prominent forms of communication.

We also socialise online. With so many people sharing so much on sites like Facebook and Twitter, it can be easy to forget that these sites are not private – they are in the public domain. And in increasing number the internet, and in particular Facebook, is implicated in the breakdown of marriages and relationships.

A 2013 UK poll found that one-third of divorce cases in England implicated Facebook – with the 5,000 people polled citing three grounds: inappropriate messages sent to another person prior to separation, friends disclosing a spouse’s behaviour and negative comments about each other posted after separation.

A 2015 poll conducted by Censuswide of 2011 people found that one-in-seven married individuals have considered divorce because of their spouses postings and a similar proportion admit they search for evidence of their partner’s infidelity. One-in-five say that they have daily rows due to their spouses’ use of social media.

And once family law proceedings are commenced social media continues to play and role – to bolster claims of financial irresponsibility or parental deficits.

The interaction between family law and social media will undoubtedly only continue.

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