Babble recently posed the question, “What counts as cheating online?”
However you answer that question, if you cross the line, it’s likely that a divorce lawyer will find out about your online transgressions. Posting personal information on social networks such as Facebook has made divorce lawyers’ job a lot easier.
The American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers says 81 percent of its members have used or faced evidence found on Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, YouTube and LinkedIn over the past five years, according to AP. Facebook leads the pack in terms of online evidence, with MySpace a distant second.
About one in five adults flirts on Facebook, according to a 2008 report by the Pew Internet and American Life Project. I’d guess that number is a bit conservative given that Facebook has only increased in popularity among married folks during the past couple of years. Think there’s any chance some of the adults were flirting with their spouses?
Social networking sites may make it easier to conduct affairs, but they also make it easier to be found out. And every e-mail, status update and tweet could then be aired in court when it comes time for a divorce. Divorce lawyers cite egregious examples of naughty behavior online such as the man who posts on Match.com that he’s single and childless only to later petition for sole custody of those non-existent children. Or the mom who denied smoking pot, but posts pictures of herself partying on Facebook.
“You’re finding information that you just never get in the normal discovery process — ever,” said divorce attorney Leslie Matthews. “People are just blabbing things all over Facebook. People don’t yet quite connect what they’re saying in their divorce cases is completely different from what they’re saying on Facebook. It doesn’t even occur to them that they’d be found out.”
In other words, think twice before you post pictures of you and your lover frolicking on the beach on your Facebook page.
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