Facebook and Other Social Networking Sites as Sources of Evidence in Divorce Cases

By now, most job seekers know that potential employers may take a look at Facebook, or other social networking sites, when evaluating a potential new hire. Job candidates are wise to this practice, and many take care to edit their social networking posts accordingly. But many divorcing spouses are not so smart, and sometimes with dire consequences.

USA Today reported on a survey of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers about the use of social networking sites as sources of evidence in divorce cases. The survey revealed that over the last 5 years, 81% of AAML members have used, or been faced with, evidence from Facebook, MySpace, and Twitter, among others. According to the survey, Facebook has been by far the most popular source with 66%, followed by MySpace with 15%, and Twitter with 5%.

To illustrate how social networking sites can be used as sources of evidence in family law cases, consider the following hypothetical cases. A parent is seeking an order for sole physical custody, claiming they are at home with the children every night, yet their Facebook page has photos of them out most nights “partying”. Or, a parent is alleging that the other parent has a drug problem and, sure enough, the offending parent has posted multiple photos of themselves on Facebook smoking marijuana. As a San Diego family law attorney, I have experience with similar cases.

Individuals who are divorcing, or considering a divorce, should consider browsing the social networking sites to see what their spouse may have posted. Similarly, they should take a look at their own posts, and consider whether there is anything that should be edited.

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