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Should I tell the divorce solicitor or should I just post it on Facebook?

07th September 2012

Whether social networking websites, smartphones, emails, texts, the plain old telephone or – shock horror! – the snail mail, communication technologies have a profound impact on the nature of relationships, right from courtship through to cohabitation, family formation, marital union and marital dissolution.

But, it would seem, as much as communication can shape a relationship, it can misshape it too – not everyone is using these technologies responsibly. The University of Missouri recently undertook a small-scale study of couples and found that for those undergoing a fractious divorce settlement or separation, technologies can be used in very unkind and damaging ways – news that is hardly likely to surprise the average divorce solicitor.

Whether it was ignoring emails and pretending they had been eaten by a spam filter or writing vitriolic wall posts, some parents, it seems will stop at nothing.

“Technology makes it easier for divorced couples to get along, and it also makes it easier for them not to get along. Parents who use technology effectively can make co-parenting easier, which places less stress on the children,” commented one of the University of Missouri research team.

The shame of all this is that, as most divorce solicitors will testify, relatively impersonal and online technologies can be a great way for warring or divorcing spouses to communicate amicably without ever actually having to come face-to-face – something which can actually spare the feelings of children rather than exposing them to the public via social networking sites.

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