The last week or so has been a busy time in the world of celebrity romance. In that short period of time we have seen reports of Will Smith breaking down in tears while discussing rocky patches in his marriage to Jada Pinkett Smith; and the furore over Seann Walsh being caught on camera kissing his Strictly Come Dancing dance partner which led to the breakdown of his relationship with his long-term girlfriend. Yesterday Ant and Lisa McPartlin hit the headlines as decree nisi was granted. This means that the couple have taken the first formal step in formally dissolving their marriage (dissolving a marriage is a two-step process in England and an application for decree absolute will still require to be made in due course).
Despite some of the trappings of celebrity life, one must recognise the challenges for those celebrities who are forced to live very private aspects of their lives (and sometimes their most embarrassing errors in judgement) in the public domain. However, even for the majority of us not in the public eye; the manner in which Seann Walsh’s indiscretion and Ant McPartlin’s new (and by all accounts very committed) relationship have played out are stark reminders as to how vulnerable all of us can be in today’s culture of instantaneous smartphone pictures and social media.
Of course, very few of us will be of sufficient interest to be “papped” in the street doing something that we shouldn’t be, or have our former partners subjected to constant reminders of a new relationship. However, no one is immune. An innocent tag in a Facebook photograph; exchanges of tweets which to those looking on are evidently not platonic; or an Instagram snap of a luxurious holiday – these are the sorts of things that clients regularly bring to our attention for a variety of reasons. Sometimes it is as simple as a client being hurt by a very overt display that their partner has moved on. It can be a basis for establishing that a spouse has behaved unreasonably for the purposes of a divorce action. All of this may seem self-evident, but what people often do not consider is that such things can be a useful piece of evidence for financial matters too – the spouse seeking to argue that they cannot afford to support their ex is less likely to garner sympathy if he or she has just instagrammed a photograph with their new partner at a Four Seasons hotel in Hawaii!
The bottom line is that while the average Joe is not susceptible to the scrutiny faced by celebrities, none of us should ever be complacent about what might become publicly available, and what consequences that could have both personally and financially.
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The information and opinions contained in this blog are for information only. They are not intended to constitute advice and should not be relied upon or considered as a replacement for advice. Before acting on any of the information contained in this blog, please seek specific advice from Gilson Gray.