Social Media’s Influence on Divorce Cases
Lipstick on the collar or a crumpled hotel receipt used to be the telltale sign of a straying spouse. These days, the trail is made up of ones and zeroes: evidence on the computer, typically from Facebook or another social media site, gives away the spouse’s extramarital activities.
Facebook Is Rich Source of Evidence
A 2010 study by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers bears this out. The study shows that a high number of divorces involve evidence culled from social media websites.
Eighty-one percent of the AAML survey’s divorce attorneys said that they are using more social media evidence. Sixty-six percent of the attorneys reported that Facebook is the primary tool for online evidence, with MySpace following at a distant 15 percent.
Alpharetta, Georgia, attorney Sam Siemon says that many of the cases he handles are affected by the inappropriate use of Facebook. A scenario might involve one spouse accepting a friend request from an old flame, which then leads to a rekindled romance – and eventually divorce.
When an unfortunate situation like this occurs, often the attorney of the spurned spouse will turn to Facebook or other social media to gather evidence. Along with cell phone records and depositions, Facebook provides valuable discovery. Attorneys have found evidence on Facebook that shows spouses vacationing with their boyfriends or girlfriends; showing off large purchases; and indulging in alcohol or drugs. All of these activities can influence the outcome of divorce, spousal support or child custody proceedings.
All Facebook users should take care to adjust their privacy settings. It is important to be aware that the Internet is a public space, and users of Facebook and other social media are creating a record of their activities when they make status updates or post photos.
Contact an Attorney
Debate continues on whether Facebook is the cause of, or merely a conduit for, cheating spouses. Whatever the truth is, it is certain that Facebook provides attorneys a reliable, and sometimes devastating, source of evidence.
Whether you have discovered that your spouse cheated on you via Facebook, or you find your marriage in trouble because of your own Facebook activity, consult a Georgia family law attorney. A divorce lawyer can answer your questions and offer guidance on your legal options.