Divorce in a digital age

April 2, 2018

Simon Dakers, partner and head of family and matrimonial at Gordon Brown Law Firm, looks at the ways technology can impact a marital breakdown

In today’s advanced digital age, it is important to recognise the impact of social media interaction on marital relationships and the connection between technology and infidelity, which could lead to divorce.

New-found opportunities are now available to rekindle old friendships online or engage in extra-marital activity, and the openness of social media means that curiosity can often get the better of us.

One aspect of digital technology that can impact on relationships is the opportunity that social media offers for an individual to check up on their partner online. The accessibility of emails on mobile phones or tablet devices makes it possible to delve into a partner’s private communications in a way that could not have been done with face-to-face or telephone communication.

Advanced technology and digital communications can, in some instances, lead to divorce should a partner be discovered being unfaithful online, and understanding what can be done initially is important. Should you discover evidence of infidelity on a spouse’s phone and wish to go ahead with divorce proceedings, in the first instance it is sensible to contact a divorce lawyer to represent you and take matters further on your behalf, as there is much to consider.

At Gordon Brown Law Firm LLP, our expert family law solicitors understand the sensitive nature of marital disputes and provide a bespoke service to each individual, assisting them in the proceedings of divorce.

It must be understood that in order to obtain a divorce, the irretrievable breakdown of a marriage must be proved. Unless you have lived apart for at least two years, the only facts that can be relied upon are adultery and unreasonable behaviour.

Adultery can only be a reputable explanation if it is proven that you find it intolerable to live with the adulterer. However, an attempt or opportunity to commit adultery does not amount to adultery itself. Spotting your spouse on a dating website is not evidence of the physical act of adultery, however it could be enough to cite unreasonable behaviour in the context of an improper association, leading to a suspicion of adulterous behaviour. If this unreasonable behaviour is to be used as an explanation, the court must be satisfied that he or she has behaved in such a way that you cannot reasonably be expected to live with them. This will require the examination of what they did and the impact of this conduct on you.

If a person continues to live with their marital partner together under the same roof after discovering infidelity through online messages, this could affect divorce proceedings. If married couples carry on living together for a period of more than six months after finding out that a partner has committed adultery, or after the date of the incident relied upon, this conduct will be disregarded.

When there is no alternative to living in the same property, it will be necessary to demonstrate that the couple has lived separate lives and have separate financial arrangements as part of divorce proceedings.

At Gordon Brown Law Firm LLP, we understand that the decision to end a marriage is a difficult one, and can be exacerbated in today’s digital age. The firm’s expert family law solicitors can assist you in handling this sensitive matter in order to deliver the best outcome for you and your family.

Gordon Brown Law Firm
0191 388 1778

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