Has the Internet had an impact on the way divorces are handled? If so, I suspect that social media sites like Facebook have had the biggest effect.
Numerous studies appear to back this up. They claim that Facebook is causing divorces and breakups, and while that may be true, the real danger when it comes to divorce and the Internet is that a person’s financial sins can be tracked down online. This week I wrote an article in The Times on this subject.
Anyone going through a divorce will understandably want to be in the best possible financial position when all is said and done. The aim of the courts is to achieve a fair result for both parties. While it is, in some circumstances, possible to ‘ring-fence’ certain finances, some people will resort to the underhanded tactic of hiding what they have so there appears to be less to split.
This is where online information can become very important. Any real wealth has a way of leaving an online footprint. Cars, houses, holidays and even charitable donations can show up on the web. A spouse could claim to be broke and yet a news report could appear online which features them socialising with the very rich. A planning application could reveal property which has not been disclosed to the person’s partner or the courts.
Divorce should be a transparent process. When a couple provides an honest account of their earnings, property and any other wealth to their lawyers and the courts, they can come to a fair decision which allows them both to move on with their lives. Trying to manipulate the decision by deliberately failing to disclose certain assets is not only deceitful but, in the age of the Internet, inherently unwise. If you are caught, you could pay the price for your dishonesty.
The Internet is a powerful tool. When it comes to divorce, Facebook may get the media’s attention but do not be fooled into thinking that if something isn’t on Facebook, it cannot be found in another corner of the web. Chances are: it will be.
To read my article in The Times, click here.