Social media has changed the way we relate to the world around us, as it offers immediate access into the lives of others. This accessibility can be wonderful for loved ones separated by distance, and keep us connected with former school friends and coworkers. Yet there is a dark side to Facebook and other popular social media sites.
According to the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (AAML), more than 80 percent of divorce lawyers in the United States have seen an increase in the number of divorces related to social media. The seeds of adultery are often planted on social media. Online messaging is private and discreet, allowing spouses to pursue romance without even leaving home. When online affairs evolve into physical affairs, divorce is often the result.
Facebook infidelity is one of the leading causes of social-media-related divorce. Before social media, an old flame or an attractive acquaintance was mostly out of sight and out of mind. Now that one can easily reach out on Facebook, the temptation to chat and flirt is ever-present. Many partners think online relationships are not a form of cheating. The problem is that online affairs often lead to physical adultery, a ticking-time bomb for a marriage.
When Facebook is involved in a divorce, posts, photos, and other information collected on the social media site can be used as evidence in divorce proceedings. Social media is one of the primary tools divorce lawyers use during the discovery process. In fact, two-thirds of American lawyers said Facebook was their primary evidence source during a divorce case.
One partner may use compromising photos of their spouse with another person to prove adultery was a contributing factor in the divorce. Moreover, parents may present Facebook evidence in child custody disputes whereby one parent is tagged in vacation photos after claiming they did not have time to see their children. Laws concerning the use of Facebook evidence in divorce proceedings vary from state to state, but any relevant evidence can be used to build a case against a former spouse.
Waiver of Attorney-Client Privilege
Communication between attorneys and their clients are generally protected and cannot be divulged in court, unless the client has divulged the advice and counsel the attorney has given. Thus, it is important that clients not post anything on their Facebook page about conversations that they have had with their attorney. This can lead to a court’s determination that the privilege has been waived, and then any conversation the client and the attorney had can be forced by the court to be divulged.
Protecting Yourself from Facebook Divorce
Social media users should remember that online messages and photos never disappear. Forensic computer experts can retrieve any online data to be used as evidence in divorce proceedings. Use caution when posting anything on Facebook and encourage your friends and family members to do the same when it involves your activities and whereabouts. Finally, as tempting as it may be, hold back from accessing your spouse’s Facebook account looking for incriminating information. Anything you find may be inadmissible in court.
Towson Divorce Lawyers at Huesman, Jones & Miles, LLC Help Clients Seeking Divorce
If you have discovered photos or posts that you believe may impact your divorce or child custody case, contact the Towson divorce lawyers at Huesman, Jones & Miles, LLC. Our team of highly-experienced family law attorneys can recommend the best legal course of action. To schedule your free case consultation, call 443-589-0150 or contact us online today. Our offices are located in Hunt Valley and Towson, Maryland, and we proudly serve clients throughout the state.