Popular social networking sites such as Facebook are increasingly being cited in courts as contributing factors in divorces.
Popular social networking sites enable users to reconnect with old friends and make new pals. In some cases, married users become too close to their Facebook friends, engaging in flirting or romances that eventually lead to divorce.
An online UK divorce site says nearly one out of five cases it handles cites Facebook as a factor in the divorce.
Opportunities and ammunition
Divorce lawyers say the site provides spouses who might be inclined to cheat with ample opportunities — Facebook has over 350 million members. With all those members and the many opportunities for romantic entanglements, the site increasingly provides jilted partners with ammunition in divorce cases.
Divorcing couples often fight over issues such as money and custody of children, and the accessibility to parties’ personal information on sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn and MySpace provides parties to a divorce and their attorneys with an additional source of potentially damaging information. Often, they find incriminating evidence posted by the spouse, or by that person’s new sweetheart.
Legal experts say photos of partying spouses drinking alcohol or engaging in reckless behavior, for example, can be damaging in a custody dispute in a contested divorce. In other cases, parents on networking sites publicly claim not to have children; a convenient lie when looking for romantic companions, perhaps, but a problematic falsehood in a courtroom custody fight.
Photos of kisses or embraces (innocent or not), flirtatious comments or demeaning critiques of a spouse on “the wall” can all be used in front of a family law judge in a courtroom. Even statements or “status posts” pertaining to spending habits, recent purchases, employment status or secret income sources are increasingly being utilized as evidence in divorce cases.
Delete or abstain
Divorce lawyers often advise people who are getting a divorce or contemplating a divorce to carefully examine their Facebook or other social networking pages for evidence that could be used against them in court. Litigants who may have already begun dating again during their divorce proceedings (more common in no-fault states) should also pay close attention to statements made in their profiles posted on dating websites.
Though savvy investigators can root out deleted information, it’s a good idea to immediately remove all potentially damaging or compromising photos, notes, messages, etc., from Facebook pages, dating websites and other social networking websites. Divorce professionals say it’s an even better idea to abstain from putting incriminating information and images up for public consumption in the first place.
At The Law Office of Laura Gillis, we are here to help. Give us a call today (602) 277-4736