My ex, and her new partner, are posting photos of our children on social media – can I stop this?

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Dear Shelia

My wife, Jan, and I are currently divorcing. To date, the process has been amicable, and we have managed to sort the arrangements for our two children, Claire (aged 6) and Tom (aged 8) between us. The children stay with me every other weekend from Friday to Monday and every Wednesday.

Jan has a new partner, Bob. They have been together for around 6 months. I am yet to meet him in person, but I know of him very well. He is well known in Hanwell as he runs a busy pub. The pub is known for attracting the wrong crowd. There are often fights and the police are called. I am surprised Jan associates herself with Bob and the pub given its reputation.

A friend of mine has brought something alarming to my attention. Bob and Jan have been posting pictures of our children on social media. Whilst the pictures of our children are fine, I feel uneasy about them sharing these online. They have also posted ‘Instagram stories’ of our children, which can indicate where my children are in real time to their followers. I do not want the people who attend Bob’s pub to know of our children or their whereabouts at any given time. As I mention, the pub does not have a good reputation.

I have told Jan I do not feel comfortable with this and requested they stop. Jan said it’s harmless and it helps promote families to come to the pub. Is there anything I can do to stop Jan and Bob posting pictures of my children on their social media? I do not want anyone to think my children are associated with Bob’s pub. It makes me fear for their safety when they are in their care.



Dear Brian

Thank you for your getting in touch and congratulations, both you and Jan seem to have done a good job in sorting out Tom and Claire’s arrangements amicably.

Introduction of new partners can be a tricky path to navigate.  If I am working with a separating couple, I would ask them to have a think about this and to come up with some ground rules that would work for the whole family.  It is a shame that you have not met with Bob and I suggest that you try and organise a short meeting with the 3 of you somewhere neutral.  This way you can bring up social media, and for everyone’s peace of mind have some ground rules that would apply to all of you.  These could include no disrespecting of a co parent when the children are in your care, being positive about your co parent with the children. Try to keep this meeting solely focusing on the children and what you and Jan think would work best for them.  By far the worst factor for the children in a separation is conflict between their parents.

I am not sure there is much you can realistically do to stop Jan and Bob posting photos, what you can say is that it makes you feel uncomfortable and maybe request to see the photos before they get posted.  There is the option of a prohibited steps court order, but they are expensive and the court’s powers are limited in terms of non-parents. I wonder what you are fearful of when they are in Jan’s care?  This might be something to think about, as your fear will be transmitted to the children, which will be confusing for them.

All the best


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