By: Merideth Nagel, Esq.
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Facebook And Divorce: A Social Door For Marital Problems
December 15, 2014
Many use Facebook as a means of socially connecting with people and while the platform is appealing to many, the dangers are now being felt in many marriages across our country. The Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers recently found that 81 percent of their members saw a significant rise in divorce cases attributed to social network sites like Facebook. “It’s huge” states Marlene Eskind Moses, the AAML president. Sites like Facebook are easy to use with little to no accountability. It insulates the user and those they associate with from exposure, allowing the transgressions to abound.
The average FB user has 130 friends on their wall, and they share with their friends and so on. You can see how the potential contacts are unlimited. Just the other day a message came to me stating that a “person” would like to be “friends” and other benefits…! You can see that if there is trouble in a marriage invitations like these can be extremely volatile.
Many divorce lawyers often mine Facebook to gather information on possible indiscretions and this trend is not going to slow down as we see the FB divorce connection increase. They are looking for the smoking gun and in most cases will find it. This is ultimately embarrassing and harmful to the entire family.
Here are some ways that the social networks can be used in a divorce case:
Lying: One case reported was that of a couple that just split up and was in the middle of a custody case. She claimed to be a stay at home mom 24/7. However, on her boyfriends page there were photos featuring: 1) Her at a bar partying, 2) Kissing her boyfriend, 3) Both in bathrobes at a posh hotel. What hurt her case the most was a picture of the boyfriend at the home with one of her kids, which violated a court order forbidding this. As a result the case settled quickly.
Pretending Broke: When dealing with alimony and child support issues it is amazing what you can pick up from social media sites to “set” the record straight. One case involved a man being sued for support who claimed he had no job. Unfortunately for him he liked to share his activities on twitter and FB. You see, he turned up as an owner of a popular night club in the Bronx using a fictitious name. Because of this finding, he had to pay a generous alimony settlement to his former wife.
Cheating: This one is the easiest to discover as people have come to think of social media as a safe place to vent. This could be furthest from the truth as information is shared and nothing is truly sacred. When looking at a divorce case attorneys are ever increasingly using FB to discover cheating. It has become easy as the photos, messages and hookups are posted and become viral.
Tips If You Are Using FB: -Stay away if you are upset or mad at your spouse. The temptation to entertain forbidden conversation is greatest while you are this vulnerable. -Keep you page private , and make it a habit to only accept family members or friends you know very well. -Stay away from sharing your intimate thoughts with those of the opposite sex. This is a recipe for disaster and the leading cause of infidelity on these social sites. -Do not “poke” old flames or those you were attracted to, especially if undergoing rough waters in your marriage. -Always allow your spouse to have an open door to your account. This will keep you accountable. When ever your significant other refuses to allow access, this is a strong indicator of impending trouble. Stay on top of this.
As you can see, the advent of these social media sites come with a new set of challenges. Remember that what you share can become fodder for a potential divorce and nothing is sacred when discovering infidelities by an attorney. If you or a loved one thinks that a situation is occurring in the marriage please contact us for advice and a consultation.
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