Facebusted

Are you married? Do you occasionally flirt on Facebook? Are you ready to lose in divorce court?

Surprise, surprise: About 20 percent of adults use Facebook for flirting. Sounds harmless, right? Not in divorce court! The Associated Press reports that 81 percent of the members of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers have used or encountered evidence from social networking sites during a divorce hearing.

The biggest social-media culprit is arguably Facebook, with its in-depth personal fields, not to mention the potential for slip-ups in photos. Just like a picky employer, judges are paying more and more attention to online evidence of social indiscretions.

“People don’t yet quite connect what they’re saying in their divorce cases is completely different from what they’re saying on Facebook,” Leslie Matthews, a divorce attorney in Denver, told the AP. “It doesn’t even occur to them that they’d be found out.”

And be wary of oversharing online during the fragile emotional period usually instigated by a divorce. “They think these people can help get them through it,” law expert Marlene Eskind Moses told the AP. “It’s the worst possible time to share your feelings online.”

Some examples from the AP story:

  • Husband goes on Match.com and declares his single, childless status while seeking primary custody of said nonexistent children.
  • Husband denies anger management issues but posts on Facebook in his “write something about yourself” section: “If you have the balls to get in my face, I’ll kick your ass into submission.”
  • Father seeks custody of the kids, claiming (among other things) that his ex-wife never attends the events of their young ones. Subpoenaed evidence from the gaming site World of Warcraft tracks her there with her boyfriend at the precise time she was supposed to be out with the kids. Mom loves Facebook’s Farmville, too, at all the wrong times.

—Seth Putnam

Premium Membership, The Good Men Project

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