Why Facebook can cost you thousands in your divorce.
What did we do before Facebook? Founded in 2004, it feels like Facebook has been around forever.
In many ways, social media is brilliant. It allows us to interact with friends and family, reconnect with friends of old, give our opinions on the latest trends and can influence the marketing strategies of even the biggest corporations.
So far so good right?
Here’s the thing. Facebook can also cost you thousands.
That’s right, Facebook can cost you money. I’m not talking here about your obsession with Candy Crush Saga or Farmville. I’m talking about you, your former partner and your well meaning friends and family talking about your relationship break up.
I’m talking about that reconnection with an old flame that’s exciting and full of happy memories.
I’m talking about the lack of boundaries and oversharing that happens on Facebook every minute of every day.
I’m talking about Facebook and divorce.
Did you know?
- Of the 64.1 Million people in the UK, 38 million have active Social Media accounts. That equates to near 59% of the population
- Of that 59%, 43% are Facebook users.
- Since January 2014, there has been a 7% growth in Social Media usage on mobile devices.
- The average time spent on Social Media per day is 2 hours and 13 minutes
With some of the highest social media networking figures in Europe is there any wonder that the UK has one of the highest divorce rates in Europe too?
A third of divorce petitions now citing Facebook as a factor in the breakdown of the relationship, and with the increasing use by parties to use Facebook to snoop, score points and generally undermine and discredit their former partner, it’s worth considering the following points:
- It’s easier than you think to get carried away with Facebook relationships that initially feel ‘safe’. Good intentions sometimes aren’t good enough.
- It’s important to have boundaries on what you agree as a couple is appropriate Facebook usage.
- If you have issues in your relationship, they won’t be solved on social media. Switch it off and talk to your partner. Seek relationship counselling if necessary.
- If your relationship is ending, considering suspending your social media usage. Both of you.
- Facebook isn’t just for now, it’s forever. That feed that runs through your phone like the river Ouse runs through York is permanent. Would you want your children to read your comments in years to come?
Anger, upset and frustration cause even the most rational and level headed of us to lash out, say things we don’t mean and take a course of action we wouldn’t normally take.
Ask yourself this: “Would I be willing to go on TV Shows like Jeremy Kyle to discuss this issue?” If the answer is “NO”, stay away from social media because it amounts to the same thing. Your comments can be shared and spread far beyond your influence and control. The more you bombarded your solicitors with this, the more your fees will increase, the less money you will have at the conclusion of your divorce.
That rant that made you feel good for a few minutes, may come back to haunt you and it may just cost you thousands.
Remember : Facebook isn’t just for now, it’s forever
Instead of Facebook, use Family Mediation
Often people turn to Facebook to post comments because they just want to be heard. They feel angry, annoyed, upset, violated, and just plain sad. That’s ok. It’s normal. The place to vent those feelings is in private. Family Mediation allows you the time, space and confidentiality to do that in a controlled and supported environment. It’s not a place for an all out rant or mud-slinging session, but you can share your feelings with the person who is relevant, and not the rest of the world.
It maybe that there is a third party involved, you wont get the chance to speak to that person in Family Mediation, but neither is it appropriate that you post about them on Facebook or you could find yourself in a whole heap of legal difficulties.
Remember, it takes two people to have an affair. you can speak with your partner about their role in that within Family Mediation if you wish, but Family Mediation is solution focused, helping you manage your emotions so that you can move forward with dignity and respect for yourselves and your wider family.
Family Mediation may save you thousands
The more you argue, bicker and mud-sling on Facebook, the more your divorce will cost you. Fact. The quickest and cheapest way to get divorced is to keep your thoughts to yourself. Family Mediation is much less expensive than a contested divorce. With the average cost of a contested divorce standing at £8-£10k each, costs can soon spiral. Mediation works to support you to reach decisions quicker by the two of you coming together with a desire to move things forward as efficiently as possible.
- You spend less on lawyers.
- You communicate with one another.
- You move forward emotionally.
- Your divorce is resolved quicker than the traditional court process.
Family Mediation will preserve your dignity
Because Family Mediation is confidential, no one other than the two of you and the mediator gets to hear what you have to say. That means that you are free to say whatever you think and feel. Its ok to express anger, frustration and upset. The whole world doesn’t need to know, and you probably wouldn’t want your children to know either.
The thing is, as raw and as painful as it is right now. However wronged you may feel and however justified that is, there will come a time when it doesn’t hurt as much as it does now. There will come a time when you wished you hadn’t aired your thoughts on Facebook. So, before you hit that post button, take a deep breath and ask yourself whether it’s really worth it?
Emma Heptonstall is a Family Mediator at York Family First in York UK. She can be contacted on 01904 697760 or by email firstname.lastname@example.org