Over the last decade, an increasing number of divorce litigants have turned to Facebook and other social networking sites in gathering evidence to use against their former spouses in court. And judges, for the most part, have no qualms with admitting it.
According to the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, 81 percent of its members have used or faced evidence taken from Facebook or similar websites over the last five years. A 2008 study by the Pew Internet and American Life Project showed that around one in five adults uses Facebook for flirting, but it isn't just incriminating wall-posts and scandalous photos of married folks with other men and women that's making their way into the courtroom.
How about Dad forcing his son to "de-friend" Mom? Pretty easy way for Mom to bolster her child alienation claim.
Or Mom denying under oath that she smokes marijuana, but posting photos of herself smoking on Facebook. Not exactly too difficult for Dad's lawyers to prove that it's in the child's best interests to live with Dad rather than Mom in the custody battle.
So what advice is there for people going through a divorce or thinking about getting divorced? Here are some common sense tips if you insist upon maintaining your Facebook account:
- Don't post incriminating photos of yourself on your account, and make sure your friends don't either.
- Make sure your mistress doesn't post incriminating pictures of you on her account.
- Don't talk trash to your "friends" about your spouse -- it's funny how quickly friends can become enemies.
- PRIVACY SETTINGS! Use them. Check them often and make sure they're still on, because Facebook tends to change things up sometimes and your once-private-profile suddenly becomes not-so-private.
**This is not legal advice. If you or someone you know is considering getting divorced, contact The Mandel Law Firm today for a free consultation to review your options.