Use of Facebook and Text in Family Law and Divorce Proceedings

Social media postings used as evidence

In any matter before the Family Court, the court has to consider the evidence before it. However, what many people fail to realise is that statements they make on Facebook, text messages they send to an ex partner or photographs posted on any social media platform can (and will) be admitted into proceedings as evidence, often with far-reaching consequences.

With their sometimes compulsive use of social media, more and more people are being caught out by what they post online. A seemingly harmless and flippant comment, status update, or photograph posted online only a short time ago can look entirely different when examined under the microscope of a divorce hearing, care proceedings, or dispute about child arrangements. And although many social media platforms have privacy settings, stating only ‘friends’ can see the post, it is always important to consider that those ‘friends’ may happily share the social media post with the court in order to bolster their position or try and damage their opponent’s.

In the case of Re P (A Child) (Care Proceedings: Appeal) [2016] EWCA Civ 3, a mother and her infant were placed in a mother and baby foster placement, so the mother’s parenting ability could be assessed. However, when considering the mother’s extensive use of social media during her time in the placement, the judge concluded the mother was not fully committed to her parenting responsibilities. This, coupled with additional concerns, led to the baby being placed for adoption at the conclusion of the proceedings.

Little of what anyone chooses to post online now remains private. Social media in itself is designed for sharing. So remember, you should think twice about exactly what you are posting online. Should you one day find yourself in Court, even private messages may not remain that private for long.

At Bretherton Law we know that it can be stressful and complicated when relationships break down, so turning to an experienced Family Law Solicitor is the sensible choice. We have been helping families with changes in their circumstances for over 50 years, and have built an enviable reputation for our professional service and honest advice.

Call us on 01727 869293, or make an appointment online. 



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