Social Media Websites and Divorce Proceedings

father's rights lawyersRecently questions have arisen as to whether social media websites are having an impact on increasing the divorce rates in the United States. There are many social media websites, such as MySpace, Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, Photobucket, and numerous other ones. Increasingly, lawyers and investigators are obtaining information from social media websites with regard to spouses carrying on elicit affairs and romances during the course of their marriage. Access to an individual’s social media websites can provide all types of information concerning their social activities. In a recent survey of attorneys who are members of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, it was found that there has been a significant increase in number of divorce cases which have utilized evidence obtained from material posted on social media websites by parties to the litigation.

Private Investigators Use Social Media Websites

In the old days, it was necessary to hire a private investigator to investigate the private life of a spouse who may have been committing adultery. Today, investigators instead of going into the field with a camera and/or snooping around motel rooms search through photo files, comments on walls, information on the individual’s profile pages, and all types of other information gleamed from social media websites. Photos taken from social media websites are increasingly finding their ways into court proceedings.

It is said a photo is worth a thousand words. Unfortunately, the wrong photo can be the basis of a divorce proceeding. In addition, photos have been utilized by criminal attorneys in driving while intoxicated cases to show dependence on alcohol or inappropriate drinking habits. Inappropriate behavior demonstrated by material taken from a social media website can be used in divorce proceedings to document an individual would be a poor choice to be the custodial parent. This can be an effective technique to obtain evidence in child custody and child support proceedings.

In addition to the utilization of photographs in court proceedings, incriminating and/or inappropriate photographs are also used by attorneys in negotiating out of court settlements in divorce and family court litigation. There are many cases of compromising photographs on websites creating pressure in negotiations to force settlements in divorce cases.

Social Media Website Used for Flirting

In 2008, a study was done entitled “The Pew Study of Internet and American Life.” One of the interesting results of this study was it was found that 20% of all adults interviewed in the study who maintained online social media websites stated they had flirted with others on these websites.
Jason Krafsky has written a book called Facebook and Your Marriage. In his book, he claims that spouses need to set limits on what they utilized social media websites for. He recommends in his book spouses share passwords and user names. He suggests this so they can each check what each other is doing on social media websites. He specifically recommends spouses do not maintain communication on social media websites with ex-lovers. He claims this can lead to misunderstandings and have a negative effect on the marital relationships.

finding evidence to help husbands in divorceElliot S. Schlissel is a father’s rights lawyer practicing in the Metropolitan New York area. His office represents fathers on issues concerning child custody, child support, spousal maintenance and the division of property in divorce proceedings.

About Elliot S. Schlissel

Elliot S. Schlissel, Esq. has spent more that 45 years representing individuals in matrimonial and family law cases.