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DivorceGetting Divorced-Stay Off Facebook!

February 22, 2010

The American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers issued a recommendation that people going through or contemplating divorce stay off Facebook and other social networking sites.

As reported in the Arizona Divorce and Family Blog:

“Going through a divorce always results in heightened levels of personal scrutiny. If you publicly post any contradictions to previously made statements and promises, an estranged spouse will certainly be one of the first people to notice and make use of that evidence,” said Marlene Eskind Moses, president of the AAML. “As everyone continues to share more and more aspects of their lives on social networking sites, they leave themselves open to much greater examinations of both their public and private lives in these sensitive situations.”

While this certainly seems like obvious advice, I am always amazed about how otherwise sophisticated people forget or just do not care that their estranged spouses are following their Facebook “status updates” –the danger being that their updates may undermine or contradict their litigation positions.

For example, it would be absurd for a party claiming that he/she is indigent to have recent profile photos showing them polishing a brand new expensive car or showing details of an exotic vacation. Likewise, it would be damaging for a parent engaged in a custody dispute to have profile photos showing them abusing alcohol or drugs or engaged in some scandalous activity.

Even if the posts are not legally damaging, updates bragging how well they are have adjusted to their newly single life or discussing plans with members of the opposite sex, could inflame their ex’s feelings of jealously, making it more difficult to settle a divorce.

In criminal cases, litigants are told they have the right to remain silent. People going through divorce should similarly exercise that right. It is better to err on the side of caution and stay off social networking sites until your divorce is final.


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