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How social media is changing divorce

We've previously discussed in this blog why, when negotiating a divorce settlement, ex-spouses may want to consider a social media clause. Not only can comments and photos shared via social media websites like Facebook and Twitter become an issue post-divorce, but they can also play a major role in both causing divorces and during the divorce discovery process.

From a wife who discovers compromising photos of her husband with a female co-worker to a cash-strapped wife who boasts online about her most-recent secret shopping purchases, information shared via social media websites can cause friction between spouses. In some cases, the discovery of these types of indiscretions or secrets may prove to be the impetus for divorce.

In cases where a couple is going through a divorce, many divorce attorneys also report that they readily use information obtained from social media websites like Facebook during divorce negotiations. In fact in a 2010 survey conducted by the American Association of Matrimony Lawyers, roughly 67 percent of divorce attorneys said that "Facebook is the primary source of evidence used in divorce cases."

From angry rants about a soon-to-be ex-husband or wife to photographs of a mom or dad partying when they had custody of the kids; there is a wealth of evidence that can be obtained via Facebook and other social media websites. Some individuals wrongly believe that information posted on sites like Facebook is only accessible to so-called friends. In reality, however, nearly anything that's posted on the Internet can be readily accessed by anyone. This is true even in cases where an individual attempts to delete potentially incriminating evidence.

Chicago-area residents who are planning to file for or who are going through a divorce, would be wise to avoid using any social media websites as a platform to discuss their relationship or frustrations. Additionally, in cases where an individual is aware of postings or photos that may be considered negative or incriminating, it's best to come clean with one's divorce attorney.

Source: FindLaw.com, "Facebook Divorce," April 9, 2015

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