Imagine a place where you can easily find proof that your ex does have a new Mercedes, despite complains that he can’t pay you spousal support. It’s the same place where you can confirm suspicions about your ex still partying while watching over your children: Facebook.
The court considers Facebook wall posts, photos, and status updates acceptable evidence in a divorce case.
According to a survey by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (AAML), 81% of lawyers use Facebook to find facts about their client’s spouse. They also use other social sites such as MySpace, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
The court considers Facebook wall posts, photos, and status updates acceptable evidence in a divorce case. Whether you, your attorney, or a friend sees that information on Facebook, the results are the same in court.
According to PC Magazine, 20% of all divorce petitions mention Facebook, showing that the social network site makes it easier for married men and women to cheat on their spouses. It also suggests that users don’t grasp that Facebook accounts are public and can be used to gather information that could be used against them in a divorce.
Even if you “unfriend” your spouse, your Facebook posts are not protected. Your spouse could still see pictures or wall posts simply because you have a mutual friend or failed to change your privacy settings. Most divorce attorneys recommend their clients delete their Facebook account completely to avoid any potential messes.
Of course, while you’re attorney doesn’t want you on Facebook, it’s certainly beneficial if your spouse has an account. Facebook has made undercover investigations unnecessary, and can be used to find:
- Proof a spouse cohabitates with someone else, which could impact alimony
- Wall posts that defame the other spouse publically (considered harassment)
- Evidence that money isn’t as tight as claimed
- Inappropriate pictures that might influence a custody arrangement
If you decide to keep your Facebook account during a divorce, only public appropriate photos and wall posts. You should also update your Facebook privacy settings and consider “turning off” your wall.