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Business News: The social network

Catherine Taylor of Healys LLP, on love, lifestyle ... and litigation

Social media plays a large part in most people’s lives. Most young people use Facebook, Twitter and Tinder; certainly most teenagers and celebrities record their every move using social media and play their daily lives in public.

Whilst many can see the benefits of social media, it also has its downside. For example, as matrimonial lawyers, we have seen that social media can play a large part in the breakdown of couples’ relationships. Facebook, for example, is now cited in many divorce and dissolution cases and is relied upon as proof of unacceptable behaviour. The social network website can provide concrete evidence of unfaithfulness and extramarital relationships and it is believed that Facebook has been referred to in approximately one third of all recent divorces. 

Perhaps Facebook has taken over from where Friends Reunited left off, as many people appear to be contacting old flames and love interests whilst still in a current relationship.

When relationships break down, evidence of what one party conceives to be harassment can be proven by exhibiting snapshots from Facebook pages, by way of example. Likewise, when dealing with the finances within divorce proceedings, one party showing off their extravagant partying and holidaying lifestyle via social media can be detrimental to their case.  We would advise anyone to exhibit caution within the social media network.

On another note, we are very pleased that same sex couples are now able to enter into a legal marriage, and we wish both Melanie Portas and Melanie Rickey, and Stephen Fry and Elliott Spencer the very best wishes for the future.

One of the questions raised by a Judicial Review Claim lodged by Rebecca Steinfeld and Charles Keidan is whether a man and woman should be able to register as civil partners, as opposed to marrying. Rebecca and Charles wish to formalise their relationship but are opposed to marriage.

Section 3 of the Civil Partnership Act 2004 states that people are not able to register as civil partners if they are not of the same sex. Clearly, upon introduction of the Civil Partnership Act 2004, the idea was to allow same sex couples to enjoy a similar status to marriage. Now that we have the Marriage (Same-Sex Couples) Act 2013, is it right that same sex couples have a choice, whilst couples of different genders do not? Rebecca and Charles have briefed a leading QC and we will have to watch this space!

Whether you are thinking of entering into a civil partnership or a marriage, we would always recommend that you consider having a Pre-Nuptial Agreement drawn up to protect your interests should your relationship break down.

If you require our assistance or wish to discuss any of the above, then please feel free to telephone us on 01273 685888 or email us at either of the addresses below: