The world’s largest social network Facebook, is causing serious marriage disharmony and it is very often being used as evidence in divorce petitions filed, report says.
Facebook was one of the cited reason or evidence in one-third of divorce cases last year with the law firm. Among 5,000 behaviour petitions filed with Divorce-Online last year, 33% have mentioned Facebook.
Mark Keenan, managing director of Divorce-Online said :
Facebook has become the primary method for communicating with friends for many people. People contact ex-partners and the messages start as innocent, but lead to trouble. If someone wants to have an affair or flirt with the opposite sex then it’s the easiest place to do it. People need to be careful what they put on Facebook as the courts are now seeing a lot more evidence being introduced from people’s walls and posts in disputes over finances and children.
Surveys throughout the World
Divorce lawyers feel that photographs taken from social networking websites are a valid and rich source of evidence. The photographs posted by colleagues or friends on their own pages often come to be vital evidence.
If you are keeping things from your partner, Facebook makes it so much easier for them to find out. The site can be used as evidence of unreasonable behavior. If you are complaining that they have a drinking problem and they have posted statuses about going out on the razzle… that could be used.
The survey of divorce-lawyers surveyed reveals explicit results. 66% of them feel Facebook as the main source of evidence, while MySpace with 15% and Twitter with only 5%.
These evidences are not only limited to infidelity, but also other legal petitions such as child custody petitions.
Dr Steven Kimmons, a clinical psychologist and marriage counsellor at Loyola University Medical Centre near Chicago said :
We’re coming across it more and more. One spouse connects online with someone they knew from school. The person is emotionally available and they start communicating through Facebook.
A member of the divorce lawyers group from South Dakota, Linda Lea Vicken said to the Associated Press :
AAML (American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers) in its survey in 2010 had found that 80% of divorce-lawyers are citing evidences harvested from social networking websites, with Facebook as the leader.
This sort of evidence has gone from nothing to a large percentage of my cases coming in.
Marlene Eskind Moses, president of the AAML, said :
The openness and sharing of social networking sites left their users’ public and private lives more exposed. If you publicly post any contradictions to previously made statements and promises, an estranged spouse will certainly be one of the first people to notice and make use of that evidence.
The total aggregate rate of divorce seems to be unaffected by the advent of social networking websites.
A spokesperson for Facebook was available to comment. He said :
It’s ridiculous to suggest that Facebook leads to divorce. Whether you’re breaking up or just getting together, Facebook is just a way to communicate, like letters, phone calls and emails. Facebook doesn’t cause divorces, people do.