A recent survey by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (AAML) revealed some very interesting information about social media and divorce.
Nearly 80 percent of attorneys surveyed indicated that they have seen a significant rise in the number of divorce cases utilizing social media within the last five years.
What exactly constitutes social media and why is it being used by so many divorce attorneys?
Social media includes (but is certainly not limited to) emails, social networking posts, tweets and pictures. The reason it is so coveted by divorce attorneys is because of its substantial evidentiary value.
To illustrate, if a husband claims that he cannot afford alimony or child support payments, he may be completely undermined in court by online pictures showing him standing beside a new motorcycle. Similarly, angry email rants between spouses can play a major role in child custody cases.
“Going through a divorce always results in heightened levels of personal scrutiny. 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,” said Marlene Eskind Moses, president of the AAML.
Facebook, the social networking site with over 400 million users, is being touted by many divorce attorneys as a veritable “gold mine” of information.
If a spouse has not properly set their privacy settings, anyone is free to see their information, including potentially incriminating photos or posts. In addition, even if the person does have the proper privacy settings in place, a mutual friend of the former spouses or someone the spouse simply forgot to block could still theoretically search for information.
According to the AAML, “Facebook holds the distinction of being the unrivaled leader for online divorce evidence with 66% citing it as the primary source.”
Suffice to say, those in the midst of a divorce should exercise discretion when using any type of social media …
- Divorce Attorneys Catching Cheaters on Facebook (CNN)
- Big Surge in Social Networking Evidence Says Survey of Nation’s Top Divorce Lawyers (American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers)