Congratulations go out to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg on recently changing his marital status from single to married. However, as a wedding gift to Mr. Zuckerberg, I may give him a little bit of free advice, and that would be to suggest he and his new wife avoid the use of Facebook or other social networking options.
Does Facebook or other internet social networking cause divorce? Of course not. What Facebook and other similar sites do is help create opportunities to do things that ultimately lead to divorce. I am a member of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, an organization that requires both national and local testing to become a Fellow, and according to the AAML, 80% of US divorce attorneys say they have seen an increase in the number of divorce cases where social networking is at issue in the case. I have seen it in my own cases.
Just this week I was consulted on a case where the parties separated and after the separation occurred, the wife learned that her husband had “friended” her female cousin, which has now purportedly sparked a new love interest between the husband and the wife’s cousin. Astonishingly, this is a trend that is not unfamiliar in my family law practice.
How many of you have joined Facebook and immediately began to search for an old boyfriend, girlfriend or even an individual with whom you had a casual sexual relationship with at some point in the past, just to “see what they were up to?” once the connection is made, temptation follows and then ultimately I end up getting a telephone call from an individual needing the services of a family law attorney for a possible divorce.
For me, Facebook can be a great way to investigate allegations that may be relevant in the case. You’d be surprised, or maybe you wouldn’t be, of some of the information people post on Facebook and how helpful that can be to me in a case as a divorce lawyer. Photographs, connections with certain individuals, direct statements made by people on their Facebook page, all can be used as evidence in a divorce case.
As I said before, social networking sites, such as Facebook, do not cause divorce, people’s actions or inactions in a marriage cause divorce. That said, the next time you are thinking of “friending” that old love interest, maybe you might want to consider “friending” your grandma or grandpa instead!