Lawyers say Facebook now regularly cited in divorce cases
Lawyers have said Facebook is now regularly cited in divorce cases and is used as evidence inappropriate behaviour.
A survey of law firms’ caseloads found that the site is mined for evidence of infidelity, new relationships and expenditure on various things.
The survey was produced by Leeds law firm Lake Legal, which studied 200 cases and said Facebook was used in just over one third.
Many of the cases involved people becoming involved with former partners. In one case a woman denied being in a new relationship despite posting on the site that she and her new partner were throwing a party.
Managing partner of the firm Lyn Ayrton said: “Social media provides an ongoing log of our lives.
“The sharing of written posts and pictures, often with geo-tagging, provides a record of activities that can be used in a court case.
“Often, if a partner refers to an impending bonus, a new job offer, or plans for a holiday, it may provide evidence that they are not telling the truth about their financial position.
“At the very least, it could call their credibility into question. It’s like having a massive public noticeboard.”
Julian Hawkhead, managing partner at Stowe Family Law, added that clients often provided evidence drawn from the social networking site.
He said: “Photographs and comments made on these forums can be used as evidence of relationships or of a lifestyle which contradicts what people will otherwise try to portray.
“We regularly find clients coming to us with information they have found which is available in the public domain with proof of a relationship.”
Mr Hawkhead added: “However, the internet can also provide a useful source of other information.
“Our in-house forensic accountancy team will often find rich pickings in gathering financial information through a Google search about a party, their location, where they have been and what they are doing with their lives.
“People need greater awareness of what information they are leaving about themselves on the internet which is otherwise waiting to be found at the touch of a button.”