There have been a number of articles written about Facebook and how it affects relationships, both on- and offline. A big topic is how social networks – and subsequent sexting or inappropriate messaging – have been linked to divorce. While we haven’t seen a significant increase or decrease in divorce over the past few years, a large number of divorce attorneys have started to scan different social media platforms, including Facebook, to help their clients’ cases.
A 2010 survey by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (AAML) found that four out of five lawyers reported an increasing number of divorce cases citing evidence derived from social networking sites in the past five years, with Facebook being the most-cited site. Two thirds of lawyers surveyed said that Facebook was the “primary source” of evidence in divorce proceedings, while MySpace (15%) and Twitter (5%) contributed but still lagged far behind. These statistics include not just evidence of infidelity, but other legal battles including child custody cases where parents deny using illicit drugs but boast about smoking marijuana on their Facebook profiles. Photos posted by friends and colleagues are also of particular interest and have been the source of additional damning evidence.
These findings should serve as a constant reminder to those who display aspects of their lives on social media sites. People should be more responsible about what they post and with whom they share information. We are constantly teaching children to “think before they click,” and we should follow this advice ourselves. I’ve always said that if you’re going to live your life like an open book, people are going to read it. This is advice that adults, parents, kids and teens should all follow, as social networking is definitely here to stay.