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5 Family Lawyer Tips on how to keep your break-up private

Watkins Tapsell - Family Lawyer Sutherland

If you pick up almost any glossy magazine in any supermarket you will be bombarded with stories of celebrities, relationships and breakups.  Separation is never easy but living in a fishbowl can create even more tension and result in very messy divorces with private information available for friends and family and, in the worst case, splashed over the tabloids.

In any family law matter confidentiality and privacy are important, no-one wants other people knowing about the most intimate details of their relationships, especially their breakups.

Here are 5 Tips from a Family Lawyer (that celebrities could learn from) about keeping your breakup private:

1. Keep it Out of Court

Although the Family Court has strict rules and guidelines prohibiting the publication of material that identifies parties to proceedings, if possible, it is better to stay out of Court.  Where possible you should try to settle your matter by way of confidential settlement conferences or mediation.  By appointing an experienced Family Lawyer you will dramatically improve your chances of reaching a binding, private agreement at mediation.

2. Don’t Use Social Media

The biggest mistake that people make after breakups is posting their feelings, frustrations and venting about their ex partner on Facebook.  Anything you post on Facebook or other social media outlets is in the public forum and can be used as evidence in a family law proceeding.

If your ex tries to draw you in by posting negative comments about you, do not retaliate, if you find this difficult then de-friend your ex and do not look up their profile.

If your breakup is particularly painful and you are having difficulty with your emotions, then take a break from Facebook and other social media (perhaps even deactivate your accounts) and instead find outlets by talking to a counsellor, health professional or close and trusted family and friends.

3. Think Before you Text

Although it can be cathartic to type an angry email or text to your ex venting your frustrations and emotions, resist the urge to press “send”.  Sending angry messages almost always results in a lengthy and damaging exchange – and all of your emails and texts can later be used as evidence in your Family Law Matter.

Think before you text, if necessary write the message the day before and then re-read it or have a trusted friend or colleague read it before sending.

And if you still feel a burning desire to write the angry text or email, then write it and delete it!

4. Be Careful Who you talk to

The world is small and with social media it is shrinking everyday!  As tempting as it may be to vent at that dinner party or after work drinks about your ex and your break-up – resist the urge.  You never know who is listening and you can never be sure how far the information will spread (and as with any game of Chinese Whispers – you never know what message will ultimately be delivered).

5. Get a Pre-Nup (Binding Financial Agreement) from a Family Lawyer

“Pre-Nups” is the colloquial term given to Binding Financial Agreements (“BFAs”).  BFAs can be entered at any time before or after commencing a de facto relationship or marriage.  BFAs can spell out what will happen to your property if you separate and how you will manage your relationship and finances while you are together.  BFAs can also include confidentiality provisions requiring the parties to keep the terms private and confidential. BFA’s do not have to be approved by a court so no one else need ever know about them.

By entering into a Pre-Nup before or during your marriage or relationship you can provide yourself with certainty and avoid a long messy battle with your partner if you separate.

For more information about keeping your break up private see our Blog Keeping Secrets from your Spouse in the Digital Age.

If you would like further information about family law or to  speak to a family lawyer, please contact the Family Law Team at Watkins Tapsell.