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Social Networking and Divorce: Why You May Want to Be Wary of Facebook

18th May 2011
By mediamasters in Divorce
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Did you ever think that your Facebook page could become evidence in a divorce? This article discusses the trend that has developed in matrimonial cases to use social networking information as evidence. This article suggests the reasons why social networking should wait until the divorce is final.
Social Networking Statistics

Did you ever think that your Facebook page could become evidence in a divorce? In 2010, over 80% of the lawyers surveyed with the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers had either used social networking information in a case, or had such evidence used against them. And you can be sure that the content of the social networking sites used in a divorce trial was detrimental to the case!
Ways in Which Social Networking Evidence Can Be Used Against You in a Divorce Case

All content on a social networking site is fair game. Have you declared yourself "single" on your social networking site? Well, you aren't. If you are in the process of a divorce, you are married and your spouse may be justified in using this premature declaration as evidence that you are being unfaithful, and therefore at fault in the break-up of the marriage. Have you posted photos of yourself partying and having a good time? That could conceivably supply the other side with evidence of promiscuity, of substance abuse, or simply of evidence that you were not with your children at a time when you had legal possession of them. Photos of you with a boyfriend/girlfriend are problematic for obvious reasons. Photos of you doing things that involve the expenditure of money for non-necessary items could cause problems for you if you are trying to argue to the court that you are broke, should not have to pay certain expenses etc. Bashing your soon-to-be-ex is also a bad idea.

Ways in which Social Networking SItes May Be Useful in Divorce

Social networking sites-- like the rest of the internet-- are a research tool these days-- a tool that can benefit you. One woman found a long-lost child on the internet following a parental kidnapping. This discovery led to the arrest of the kidnapping father. Any potential witness or party may be looked up on social networking sites, and it is possible to learn a great deal about a person that way, and then to use that information in cross-examination. What is bad for the other side on the social networking sites will be good evidence for you.
Ways to Avoid the Harmful Effects of Social Networking in Divorce

The first and best suggestion is to put all social networking on hold until after the divorce. Privacy controls are a good idea (and your good sense as a parent will be questioned if your children have social networking sites that are not private), but your friends will have access to a private site and your friends may well like your spouse better than they like you! If you must engage in social networking, be careful of what you say and do and who you allow to be your friends-- your ex and his or her lawyer may well be watching!

Social Networking in Divorce: Conclusion

The younger generation has grown up with texting, the immediate transfer of photos from cell phone to cell phone, and with social networking. As a result, they expect less privacy than the baby boomer generation has come to believe is their right. But both baby boomers and the younger generation should be aware that in a divorce, the other party is on the lookout for compromising evidence to use against you-- don't provide them with fuel for the fire by the indiscriminate use of social networking sites! Maintain your privacy in divorce, and save social networking for your life as a single person.
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