When a relationship broke down in pre-electronic times, abuse may have taken the form of inappropriate telephone calls or letters. We then moved onto the era of texts and emails, but usually these communications were only between the parties themselves.
Now, with the use of social media, including platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, abuse by a bitter ex can not only be directed at the other party, but also shared with a huge network of people - namely the 200 or so "friends" on the persons Facebook account. These large networks can allow inappropriate communications to go "viral" or spread very quickly and there is little anyone can do to control it.
This raises the question as to whether, in the context of a relationship; you need to consider how you and your significant other may agree to behave, or more importantly, how you may not behave if your relationship breaks down.
These days with people marrying later in life and forming subsequent relationships when they may have already built up significant assets, they are choosing to address what they might protect and what they might share in the event of their relationship breaking down. These are commonly known as "Contracting Out Agreements" or "Pre-Nuptial Agreements".
Many people are now also giving consideration not only to the division of property on the breakdown of a relationship, but protocols for what might, or might not, be shared on social media.
It is not just about using social media to post inappropriate or abusive messages. In the full (and often) first flush of a relationship, recordings of an "intimate" nature may have been made. However, in the context of a bitter breakup these videos or photos could be posted on social media by a resentful ex, or the threat to do so may be made.
There is no guarantee that a social media clause in an agreement is going to stop one of the parties being nasty, or vindictive, particularly in the circumstances of a bitter breakup. However, by addressing it in an agreement at the outset, it may significantly reduce the risk of you having something published to the outside world that you never intended to be shared with them.
If you would like more advice or information, please contact our friendly relationships team for a confidential discussion. They can help you with all areas of relationships and separation including Contracting Out or Pre-Nuptial Agreements.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.