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Facebook Changing The Face Of Divorce And Family Law Fights

How many times have you logged onto your Facebook account today? If you have used the popular social networking tool at least one time today, you are in the company of many others in the world who have grown dependent upon the tool.

Facebook and social networking in general is an invaluable tool for us to stay in touch with friends and family that we might otherwise never see or hear from. We are all much more involved and updated in each other’s lives. The irony is that while Facebook brings many people together, it also tears many marriages apart by leading to divorce and nasty divorce battles.

According to a recent survey, more than one-third of divorces in 2011 cited Facebook somewhere in the filings. This could mean that a divorce was prompted by something a spouse did to damage a marriage using Facebook, or it could mean that estranged parties used evidence found on the site to argue their side in child custody, alimony or other family law issues.

Family law attorneys from across the country suggest that Facebook contributes to the end of marriages because the site makes it tempting and easy to have extramarital affairs. Perhaps spouses are finding old flames and rekindling romance. It isn’t difficult for suspicious spouses to find out what their spouse is saying or doing on the site. If they find evidence of wrongdoing, it is right there for them to print out and hold in their hands.

Using Facebook to find evidence with regards to divorce is not uncommon. Facebook can cause divorce and Facebook can also help parties fight for what they want out of a divorce. If there is evidence of an ex spending money on frivolous things, his or her ex might use photos or status updates to argue against having to make alimony payments. Also, photos and status updates can work against parents who are in a battle for child custody if the posts depict them as unfit or less fit than the other parent.

Reuniting with friends and family and sharing information about our lives can be fun and convenient. Couples should recognize and discuss the potential dangers that social networking can pose to their unions, and divorcing individuals should also recognize the dangers that some information can pose to their arguments during a divorce.

Source: New Jersey Newsroom, “Facebook in divorce court: Social network makes breaking up hard to do,” Adele Sammarco, May 22, 2012

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