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June 11, 2012

Ben Goldsmith-Kate Rothschild divorce case a warning against using Twitter in anger

By Spear's

The imminent divorce of Ben Goldsmith and Kate Rothschild, as reported on several front pages, was heralded by a series of acrimonious posts on Twitter, bitter allegations about infidelity and abandonment. This, top divorce lawyers say, is the wrong way to go about separating

The imminent divorce of Ben Goldsmith and Kate Rothschild, as reported on several front pages, was heralded by a series of acrimonious posts on Twitter, bitter allegations about infidelity and abandonment. This, top divorce lawyers say, is the wrong way to go about separating.

Read Ben Goldsmith’s articles for Spear’s

Claire Blakemore of Withers says: ‘In an age where the ability to let the whole world know your most intimate private affairs is at the touch of a fingertip it is not surprising that we are seeing more and more breakdowns being aired online. The use of social media is bringing a new and fast paced dynamic to family cases. I’ve used Facebook pages as evidence in trials and social media tools can provide a huge amount of useful or damaging information in cases.

‘Managing clients’ reputations is now an essential part of family law work. With public profiles being such an important commodity and the potential harm caused by the use of social media as a weapon the stakes can be very high particularly on the breakdown of a relationship when people are at their most vulnerable. Our reputation management team is involved in more and more in our cases including those that do not involve high profile names.

‘Private comments aired publically (including those made in jest or in anger) can have adverse implications months or years down the line.’

An alternative to the rancorous public airing of problems is arbitration, according to Carol Ellinas of Winckworth Sherwood: ‘There will always be a core of individuals who feel so betrayed that they want the world to know how badly they have been treated. There are also those who believe that all publicity is good publicity. They will continue to take every opportunity to talk to the press about their situation.

‘Choosing the new option of arbitration is one way to ensure that a highly qualified neutral professional can hear their case argued in full and who can give a judgement which the parties are bound by, knowing that their case will never be the subject of public scrutiny.’

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