Facebook and social media showing up in more divorce cases

It seems innocent enough at first: A simple friend request online with an ex. But for some, it turns out the temptation to connect goes behind just chatting online and leads to real life affairs.

One now ex-husband recently shared his story, claiming that Facebook ruined his marriage as it allowed his wife to reconnect with an ex boyfriend from more than 20 years ago. And while this relationship may have just started out as casual online friends, it ended up turning into an extramarital affair that led to the husband filing for a divorce.

At this point the husband’s attorney is saying that she has seen similar situations with other clients too, also adding that the information that can be obtained on sites like Facebook, Myspace, LinkedIn and even Twitter can later be used in court against the cheating spouses and can result in leverage for negotiations

According to the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, 81 percent of the country’s top divorce attorneys have reported that in the past five years evidence gathered from social networking sites in divorce cases is on the rise.

And even though some people might think they are safe with privacy settings, some attorneys are saying that even with those settings there are still ways to get information found from photos and posts.

In this case of the ex-husband whose wife had connected with an old boyfriend on Facebook, the woman at first denied any cheating, but was later caught when she forgot to log off of her Facebook account and her husband was able to prove her cheating ways. His suspicions were also confirmed when he would occasionally ask to use his wife’s phone where text messages between she and her former boyfriend were stored.

Of course this isn’t to say that Facebook and other social media networking sites are to blame for infidelity and divorce, rather these sites are more just further connecting people to the possibility and making it easier for divorce attorneys to prove infidelity and other behaviors that can end up possibly being used against a person in court.

In general, sources claim that to avoid accusations – or the temptation – it’s best for couples to treat online relationships like other aspects of their marriage, and to create boundaries that could include letting a partner know about friend requests and to share online passwords and usernames.

Source: KATU, “Seattle man: Facebook cost me my 20-year marriage,” Michelle Esteban, 15 May 2011

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