The type of evidence used in family proceedings has changed radically in recent years. With the universality of social media and internet sites, people’s lives are often conducted in the full glare of the public gaze, whether they like it or not.
The most recent example has been from the Ashley Madison website which aims to facilitate extra marital affairs. Hackers have published a data file for download which contains customer details – potentially hugely embarrassing as well as marriage-wrecking.
There is often a misunderstanding about when adultery occurs in a marriage. If you have an sexual affair whilst you are still married, it doesn’t matter that you’ve separated, it is still adultery right up until decree absolute. But it is very rare to engage a private detective to obtain proof of adultery nowadays. You wouldn’t start a divorce on this ground unless the Respondent admits the adultery with an unknown person.
The Ashley Madison website is actually going to name and shame people which could be proof in its own right, if needed.
Facebook is another fruitful source of evidence in family proceedings nowadays. The Courts strongly discourage reliance on Facebook downloads but nonetheless some of the more blatant postings can provide compelling evidence in both divorce and children cases, if you’re not careful.
The moral of this tale is obvious – if you want your private life to stay that way, use the internet with care.
Monday, October 26th, 2015 News