Thanks to the proliferation of dating sites like Match, OkCupid and eHarmony, finding love online is more popular than ever. Not surprisingly, however, having relationships online also means that social media networks have become an instigator for cheating, and a cauldron of evidence for divorce lawyers looking to peg lovers with bad behavior.
Increasingly, divorce lawyers gather evidence from social media for divorce courts. According to a infographic created by Total Divorce, an online divorce lawyer network, 81 percent of members of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers have reportedly used “confronting information” from social networks in divorce proceedings. More specifically, 66 percent of the evidence is found on Facebook, 15 percent found on Myspace, and 5 percent found on Twitter.
So what type of evidence could a divorce lawyer find that implicates you in a lie? Total Divorce offers some scenarios that take place all too often.
For example, if you’re in a custody battle with your spouse, who claims that you’re an unfit parent due to your alcoholism or pot-smoking habits, and forget to delete those Facebook photos of you swigging from a bottle of Grey Goose or puffing a joint, evidence like that is bound to show up in court. Or if your spouse took to a dating site like Match.com prior to a custody battle, with a profile presenting his or herself as a single bachelor or bachelorette without children, odds are this kind of damning information will be used in the court room.
This should serve as yet another reminder that, as far as social networks are concerned, absolutely nothing remains private, even if your privacy setting blocks certain individuals. Friends of significant others often rat out “suspicious activity.” Messages to the opposite sex, which your significant other might construe as cheating, often end up as evidence. Even fights that play out through Facebook comments take the stand. And don’t forget the fact that many of these Facebook posts make their way onto other sites on the Web, like Reddit.
So what does Total Divorce suggest for avoiding such follies? The obvious: Question what say before you publish, create separate social circles, and turn off your location-based services when attending “less than reputable establishments.” At the end of the day, how you handle yourself online is simple, and applies whether or not you’re in a relationship: Publish content that you wouldn’t mind your parents, siblings, employers, acquaintances or children seeing. Don’t set yourself up for a future where you’re going to have a bad time.
Check out the infographic below: