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Facing Facebook

Category : Favorite Articles, Online

According to their website, “Facebook helps you connect and share with the people in your life.” But does it also help you connect with a divorce lawyer and share your assets with your spouse?

Facebook and divorce has been in the media these days. According to the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, fully 20% of divorces now involve Facebook in some way, and 80% of divorce lawyers say they have seen an increase in the number of divorces involving social media. From photos to wall posts to status updates, it seems it could be evidence of someone living a life that their spouse may not really know about. I guess next time you get a friend request from your old high school boyfriend or girlfriend, you should think twice before accepting.

The Wall Street Journal offers an interesting article about this. Here are some highlights from the article below:

Some lawyers do say that they see Facebook playing a bigger role in divorce these days, that doesn’t mean the site destroys marriages. “People have met online for years,” said Randall M. Kessler, chair-elect of the family-law section of the American Bar Association. “Using the Internet to create relationships is not anything new. It predates Facebook.”

Kessler added that Facebook’s role isn’t always one of instigating infidelity; it can also reveal it. “While most photos are innocent, a photo of a spouse having a good time with someone other than their own spouse, is truly worth a thousand words,” Kessler wrote in an email. “Sometimes these photos are on friends of the paramour’s Facebook account since these people often don’t realize their friend (the paramour) is dating someone who is actually married. So they innocently post photos. And the paramour is often embarrassed that their boyfriend or girlfriend is married, so they often don’t tell their friends about their partner’s marital status.”

Also, Facebook’s role can be unrelated to affairs. “Clients are interested to see their ex’s new purchases, or fancy vacations they discuss on Facebook when during the divorce they claimed they were broke,” Kessler said. Added Margaret Cleek, professor of human resources management at Sacramento State, “I would not know the statistics, but I would assume that the issue re divorce is that Facebook and Facebook interactions appear to a spouse to be more important than the real relationship with them as a flesh-and-blood spouse.” It’s no different, she said, “than the spouse who prefers the bar, porn, or golf to participating in the relationship. No one likes to be second fiddle in a relationship.”

What do you think about Facebook and other online social media sites affecting the divorce rate?