When going through a divorce or trying to agree amicable child arrangements, we appreciate that you need to talk to family and friends to gain their support and understanding.
This is perfectly acceptable so long as those you confide in understand the importance of privacy in family law proceedings.
Keeping matters private in these circumstances is very important.
Where the family court is involved, airing your dirty laundry in public is never a good idea because of the potential harm it could do to your case. This includes discussing details of your case on social media, such as Facebook or Twitter.
Who can I discuss my case with?
Obviously you can discuss your case with your legal team and with anyone appointed to help you try to resolve matters amicably, such as a family law mediator.
When you go to court about a family matter, the judge in charge will usually only allow you and a handful of other interested people to be involved in the proceedings and to have sight of any relevant court papers and reports.
If you are getting divorced, it is likely that only you, your former spouse and your respective solicitors, barristers and court-authorised experts will be allowed to participate in the proceedings.
In cases involving children, permission may also be given for social workers and other professionals to become involved, as well as someone from the Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service (CAFCASS) appointed to look after the interests of your children.
You may also be permitted to have a support worker in attendance. For example, if you have been a victim of domestic abuse you may have someone from Women’s Aid with you.
It is perfectly acceptable to discuss your case with anyone who is involved in the negotiations to resolve the family matter in hand.
Who shouldn’t I discuss my case with?
Family and Friends
Family and friends may be your main source of support during court proceedings so sharing and discussing certain matters is acceptable, but you must not mention anything to them that the court has specifically told you not to discuss and under no circumstances must you show them any court papers or reports.
Posting to social media platforms is an absolute no. This is also something that friends and family need to understand.
Not only will they attract disapproval from the judge, they could also amount to contempt of court if you reveal confidential or sensitive information. This is also likely to aggravate what will already be a difficult situation.
Personal attacks about the character of your former spouse, or the competency of the professionals involved in the case, could also be libellous and result in civil proceedings and a claim for compensation being brought against you.
Press and Media
During court proceedings for divorce or child arrangements, members of the press will be excluded to protect your privacy. It is highly advisable not to speak to press or magazines about your issue whilst court proceedings are in progress.
This may sound like advice for only the rich and famous but many magazines are interested in the stories of ‘ordinary folk’ but this is not something that should be explored until your matter is resolved.
Will details of my case be reported in the press?
Journalists are not allowed to attend court to hear cases concerning children. They are, however, allowed to attend to hear other types of case, such as those concerning financial arrangements following divorce.
Unless yours is a particularly unusual or interesting case that has the potential to change or clarify the law on a particular matter, or you happen to be a high-profile individual or celebrity, it is unlikely that the press will be interested in attending court to hear your case or subsequently report on it.
Occasionally, the court may give permission for cases to be reported in circumstances where the proceedings would usually have been private. This may happen, for example, where publicity is needed to help locate a child who has been abducted or where there is significant public interest in a case and everyone involved agrees that it should be reported on.
Lauren Jodrell is a solicitor who deals with all areas of family law, including divorce, financial negotiation and matters relating to children. She was trained and qualified in a Birmingham based firm, however, she was raised in Stoke on Trent and was keen to return to her roots and so joined the family law team at Grindeys in 2015.
She prides herself on being friendly and approachable as her clients are often going through a very difficult time in their life. She also appreciates the need to deal with matters as swiftly and as cost effectively as possible.
Her aim is to try and settle matters out of court, as this is cheaper and less traumatic for the disputing parties, but should your matter need court intervention you can rest assured that Lauren’s keen interest in advocacy will see you well represented.
Lauren is a member of both the Law Society and Resolution. Membership of both organisations requires a high level of continuous professional development and a commitment to exceptional client care.