posted in Divorce
on Thursday, July 5, 2012.
Data from several groups shows that social networking sites are being used more in divorce cases. According to the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, more than 80 percent of U.S. attorneys have seen a rise in the number of cases using social networking. Information released by Divorce Online indicates that the word “Facebook” appeared in more than a third of divorce filings in the United Kingdom last year.
According to a divorce lawyer from Connecticut, 60 percent of the 15 cases he handles each year that involve emails, texts and computer history are exclusively focused on Facebook. The author of a book on marriage and Facebook weighed in on the sudden inclusion of Facebook and its users’ activities as evidence in divorce proceedings. He believes that the social networking site is making it easier for individuals to have affairs, causing more divorces to occur.
While more traditional affairs such as a workplace romance often take time to develop, Facebook causes its users to be inundated with temptation. In just a few clicks, a married man or woman can connect with someone that he or she has met, even only once. Other opportunities for affairs include old romances that may become rekindled through a few simple words. These easy connections allow people who would never consider an affair to ponder the possibilities.
Pictures, posts, messages and check-ins are all being used as evidence in divorce cases. Even when an extramarital affair develops without the help of Facebook, such evidence is often the nail in the coffin that alters the expected outcome of the divorce. In a case last year, a judge ordered that account and password information be exchanged between spouses so their attorneys could scour the profiles for evidence.
Many people use Facebook as a place to express their complaints with their life and in cases where no affair has occurred, these messages have been used against spouses to prove an argument.
Source: Detroit Free Press, “Divorce lawyers turn to social media to turn up the goods on cheating spouses,” June 24, 2012