Divorce proceedings can be commenced by one of a married couple when they believe that “their marriage has irretrievably broken down”.

In order to pursue the divorce one of five grounds has to be cited which can include “unreasonable behaviour”. That behaviour must make the divorcing party consider that it is intolerable to remain married to the other party.

The unreasonable behaviour is both objective and subjective.  Objective in that it must be sufficient to convince a Judge that there is justification for the granting of divorce but subjective in that it is the impact and effect of the behaviour upon the individual citing it that justifies it as being intolerable.  In other words what may be intolerable to one person may not necessarily be intolerable to another.

The rise availability and use of social media, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Whats App etc can certainly aid and assist in one of the parties to the relationship coming to the conclusion that it is intolerable to remain married to their partner.

Excessive use of social media can lead to one partner effectively emersing themselves in a virtual world to the exclusion of their partner leading to them feeling isolated within the relationship.

Social media allows for instantaneous and almost 24/7 connection to other people and for connections to be made with people who are like minded and share the same interests.  At the extreme however it can lead to an emotional connection which even if not taken to a physical relationship can cause the other party to feel that a virtual affair is taking place and that it is intolerable to remain married to somebody who is so emotionally connected to somebody other than themselves.

Where both parties are fully connected to social media it can lead them to communicate via social media which can create ultimately incompatibility between the couple and stop them from really communicating.

Constant use of social media can cause distrust and jealousy which can further open fault lines in a relationship.

There seems to be something inherit within the use of social media and the fact that communications are being sent via a computer or phone which means that we often see parties using language and insults which they would never transmit to their partner face to face or verbally.  Consequently whilst social media can be a wonderful enhancing medium it can also as we are increasingly seeing be a significant and contributory factor for the breakdown in relationships and where the couples are married divorce.

If you would like to discuss this or any other family law issue please contact Peter Marshall, a partner in our family law team on 01762 74433 or email family.staustell@stephens-scown.co.uk with any queries.