Edinburgh-based Gibson Kerr, which specialises in family and personal law, has highlighted the trend of using social networking sites to complain about partners during divorce proceedings – or “bitter twittering” – as a phenomenon that is is becoming increasingly prevalent across the Unites States and in the UK.
The trend has already been witnessed among celebrities, with high profile “bitter twitters” including Cheers and Frasier star Kelsey Grammar, who posted a series of personal tweets about his ongoing divorce case earlier this year, and Grammy-award winning singer LeAnn Rimes.
Gibson Kerr is now advising its divorce clients about the pitfalls of using social media sites as an outlet for their frustration during divorce proceedings – and is suggesting that some partners consider a facebook blackout while their divorce is ongoing.
Partner Fiona Rasmusen explains: “With social media sites like facebook and twitter becoming more and more popular, it’s easy for people going through a divorce to be tempted to share their feelings online. In some cases they may post information about the stress they’re under, but equally it could be derogatory or unpleasant accusations levelled against their partner.
“Divorce is a highly charged and emotional time, but it’s important not to turn the situation into a public slanging match that is played out for everyone to see online. If the situation is allowed to escalate, then it can lead to added tension between the divorcing partners and even prolong their settlement.
“Added to this is the extra stress that such behaviour can put on children – especially if there is a highly-charged custody battle taking place between their parents. It creates a situation that is not beneficial to anybody.
“In the US – where there have been a number of prominent “bitter twitters” in the news recently – some lawyers are starting to look at factoring in restrictions on social media use as part of the divorce proceedings. These agreements are not legally binding yet, but they are becoming more popular with couples who want to terminate their union as amicably as possible.
“Although we’re still some way off from seeing similar agreements actually being discussed in court in Scotland, it is still important to highlight the “bitter twitter” issue to people going through divorce and to show how it can have a negative effect on them.
“Therefore, we have already started advising estranged couples to agree not to post pictures of their new flames online, or not to share information about their children on their facebook pages – or even to declare a “tweet” truce. It’s an extra bit of guidance that we hope will make things a little easier during what is a very stressful and emotional time.”
Gibson Kerr has been established in Edinburgh for more than 100 years and has an excellent reputation for providing a comprehensive service encompassing both property and personal law. Husband and wife team Scott and Fiona Rasmusen head the family law team in Edinburgh, who provide expert advice on issues including powers of attorney, executries and wills.