Have you ever ignored your spouse's text messages?
A woman in Taiwan has been recently granted a divorce, using the "Read" indicators on the Line messages she had sent to her husband as proof that he had been ignoring her. An app was able to show her that he had opened and duly ignored her text messages.
Social media apps such as WhatsApp which use tick notifications which show when someone has received and read your message.
The judge in Hsinchu district's family affairs court cited the ignored Line messages as key evidence of the woman's marriage being beyond repair, ruling that she was therefore entitled to a divorce.
In the Taiwanese case, the wife apparently sent her husband several text messages, including one after she was admitted to hospital because of a car accident, alerting her husband to her hospital admission and he simply ignored them
Although her husband did visit her once in hospital, the court found that his subsequent ignoring of her messages was grounds for divorce, on the basis that he did not enquire about her and ignored her texts.
A month or two after her accident, the husband finally sent his wife a brief message about matters related to their dog and notified her there was mail for her, but he didn't show any concern for her.
Although there were other issues in the case, the husband’s refusal to respond to the wife’s text messages was the straw which broke the camel’s back.
Ironically, the husband did not attend the hearing and did not respond to any of the court's other notices but unlike the social media messages from his wife, the court can't even tell if he's "Read" them.
In this jurisdiction, the court needs to be satisfied that a marriage has broken down irretrievably before allowing a divorce to dissolve the parties’ marriage.
One of the most common grounds for demonstrating irretrievable breakdown is that of ‘unreasonable behaviour’ of one party towards the other.
There are two limbs to the unreasonable behaviour test.
The first is a subjective test. The person bringing the petition [the Petitioner] has to prove on the balance of probabilities that the other party has acted unreasonably
The second is an objective test. The Petitioner then has to prove that a ‘reasonable person’, not the Petitioner, would find the behaviour of the other party to be unreasonable
The case in Taiwan evidences the increasing use social media plays in helping parties to prove their allegations and win cases.
For further help or advice, please contact Head of Family and Matrimonial, Chris Burns.
Please note this information is provided by way of example and may not be complete and is certainly not intended to constitute legal advice. You should take bespoke advice for your circumstances.