Social media given increasing importance in family courts

A landmark ruling by a supreme court judge in America has raised new questions about how the internet and social media can impact on divorce proceedings.

The judge in New York City granted a woman permission to file for divorce via a Facebook message.

The message will be repeated once a week for three weeks in succession or until it has been acknowledged by Ellanora Baidoo’s hard-to-find husband.

Baidoo had married Victor Sena Blood-Dzraku in 2009, but their relationship soon broke down and the pair were only in touch via phone and social media sites.

While this particular ruling has no bearing on UK courts, it demonstrates that jurisdictions across the world are paying increasing notice to new technology.

Back home in Britain, it is believed that messages and pictures posted on Facebook are now referenced in a third of all divorce cases.

Posts, which are dated and sometimes record an individual’s location, are being used to provide evidence of infidelity and record an individual’s expenditure.

In some instances, even innocuous comments about a work bonus or plans for a holiday may prove that someone isn’t being entirely honest about their financial position.