New twist to social media in divorce proceedings

In the past we’ve discussed the role of Facebook in divorce. In fact, even the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers reported seeing an increase in the use of evidence gathered from social media sites being used in divorce proceedings. However, a recent judge’s ruling has the potential to play a rather large role in future rulings in Missouri and throughout the country when it comes to social media sites and divorce.

In this recent case, the judge ordered that both spouses exchange passwords to the social networking sites they each have accounts with, including online dating sites and Facebook. The judge ordered this after one spouse posted some kind of comment on Facebook that the other wants to use in order to get the upper hand in court when it comes to receiving full child custody.

Before this password disclosure order, evidence obtained from social media websites in a custody battle was not unheard of. However, that evidence was typically gathered by an ex obtaining the information through a mutual friend’s profile, or simply just looking at the person’s online profile.

But now with this recent ruling, judges in other states could potentially take notice and start ordering that more soon-to-be exes share their passwords in child custody hearings.

What do you think? Should evidence from Facebook and other social media sites always be fair game in a divorce or child custody proceeding? If so, should there be a timeline on how far back comments and photos can be negatively used against a person? What if the photo was from before the child was even born?

Source: TIME, “Judge Orders Divorced Couple to Swap Facebook Passwords,” Melissa Locker, Nov. 14, 2011

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