31/01/2019 - Birketts
A recent study published in a psychology journal found that people who used Facebook more than once an hour are more likely to “experience Facebook-related conflict with their romantic partners”.
Other studies have also shown that Facebook is cited in approximately one third of divorce petitions where the divorce is based upon unreasonable behaviour.
The case of Stocker v Stocker concerns complexities of libel and defamation law however, it is perhaps also a warning to separating couples as to the risks associated with inappropriate comments on social media.
In her comments Mrs Stocker said that Mr Stocker had “tried to strangle” her, that he had been arrested as a result of his violence and that he had been arrested on other occasions too. The suggestion being that Mr Stocker was dangerous and that he was a man who had tried to kill.
The judge in the first hearing found the words complained of were defamatory. Mrs Stocker appealed but the Court of Appeal upheld the decision made at the first hearing and Mrs Stocker’s appeal was dismissed. Mrs Stocker was granted permission to appeal to the Supreme Court. The case was heard on 24 January and judgment is awaited.
Following the significant increase in the use of social media it is not uncommon for evidence found on social networking sites to be used within divorce proceedings. Examples include parties to a divorce being ‘tagged’ in photos which may suggest infidelity or photos which prove the whereabouts of the person photographed that conflict with where they claim to have been at that time. Other common posts used in evidence are ones that refer to expensive purchases or holidays when the person posting claims to have modest resources.
For more information on the services provided by Birketts’ Family Law team visit – https://www.birketts.co.uk/family