An article in the Daily Mail recently discussed the influence of Facebook on divorce, with the startling claim that in the UK, Facebook is ‘now cited in a third of all divorce cases, and is increasingly relied upon for proof of unreasonable behaviour,’ based on a survey of legal firm caseloads in that country.
While the situation in Australia may be quite different, we think it’s worth noting some of the points raised in the article. Of critical importance is to know that the details you record about your life can in fact later be used in court against you.
Of course, the situation in the UK, which does not have the same no-fault divorce laws as Australia, is more dire. There, evidence of infidelity is often sought out and obtained through social media by legal teams. But wherever we are, what we choose to post on Facebook can reveal a huge amount about our lives apart from new relationships, such as expenditure on things like cars or holidays, impending bonuses, job offers and promotions and so on. Even our use of geotagging can help track our movements as we document our day-to-day lives. And such information may sometimes lead to questions about credibility and whether people are being completely truthful about their financial situation:
“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.”
It isn’t just Facebook and other social media sites that can reveal an enormous amount of information which can be potentially used against you, but firms may also utilise forensic accountancy firms to gather financial information about parties simply via Google searches.
It’s important we realise that the digital trail we leave can become evidence against you, just as much as the familiar “paper trail”—and can often be even easier to access by a mere touch of a button.