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Young Lawyers - Hannah Budd: The Social Network and Family Law
Date:29 JUN 2011

Hannah BuddFor months now the news has been dominated by the furore surrounding super injunctions. As well as keeping us guessing as to the identities of the celebrities involved it has also brought home to all the huge impact of social networking sites in our society. They have the power to break High Court orders. It is almost hard to believe that Facebook is just 7 years old and Twitter just 5.

Given the very real part that social networking plays in the daily lives of so many young (and not so young) people it is unsurprising that as family lawyers it is something our clients talk to us about more and more often.

It is almost commonplace now at initial client meetings for clients to raise matters relating to their partners comings and goings online. It appears that these days ending a "relationship" on Facebook is almost as significant, and certainly a more public statement, than an absent wedding ring. It was also unsurprising to read a report recently that a survey by Divorce Online of over 200 petitions issued by women in the first four months of this year, 15 per cent of them cited their husband's excessive computer use as particular of unreasonable behaviour.

From citing as unreasonable behaviour, to proving adultery and co-habitation this change is something that we as practitioners must embrace.

Politically we continue to be some way off no fault divorce, but in the meantime thank goodness for Facebook levelling the litigation field!

Hannah Budd is an Assistant Solicitor at The International Family Law Group LLP. She specialises in complex ancillary relief cases often with an international element.

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