Facebook: A Leading Cause in Divorce?
Twenty years ago many Houston residents were only starting to use the Internet. Today, most of us spend all day online in some capacity, in particular social media. But while Facebook and similar services like Twitter and WhatsApp are great for staying in constant contact with the rest of the world, social media use may also contribute to an increase in the most anti-social actions of all–divorce.
Divorce Lawyers See Increase in Social Media “Evidence”
It may sound preposterous to suggest that Facebook and Twitter are leading couples into divorce court, but that is exactly what many experienced divorce lawyers have seen in the past few years. In 2010, the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers said that a survey revealed that “81% of the nation’s top divorce attorneys say they have seen an increase in the number of cases using social networking evidence during the past five years.” Two-thirds of survey participants cited Facebook as the “primary source” of social media evidence in divorce cases, followed by MySpace and Twitter.
More recently, an April 2015 report published by a law firm in the United Kingdom said 1 out of 7 people surveyed “said they had contemplated divorce” over their partner’s social media activities. The survey said about 25 percent of recipients said they had “at least one argument a week” due to social media, and in many cases there were daily arguments over something a partner posted on Facebook, Twitter, et al.
Why Is Social Media a Problem for Marriages?
The British survey found that 14 percent of respondents looked at their spouse’s social media feeds to “identify evidence of infidelity.” Even if there is no actual infidelity, social media use may still raise suspicions. For example, if a spouse posts pictures of herself with a former partner on Facebook, that may give her current partner the wrong idea.
Spouses may also fight over the amount of time spent on social media, as well as whether certain accounts (or login information) is kept private. If one spouse discovers the other has a “secret” Facebook account, for instance, that can lead to an argument even if the other partner is not using the account for any illicit purpose. Conversely, the spouse with the secret account may feel that their partner is “spying” on them and therefore needs a more “private” place online.
Keep It Offline and Out of Court
The problem is that nothing you post online is ever truly private. A good rule of thumb is to never post something on your Facebook or Twitter account that you do not want your spouse–or a judge–to see. Remember, anything that you do post may be used against you in court in League City or Houston.