Facebook. You use it. Your spouse uses it. Your kids, friends, and co-workers use it. Facebook has roughly 1.5 billion users who log in at least once a month. As Mark Zuckerberg put it, that is “1 in 7 people on Earth [who] used Facebook to connect with their friends and family.” However, as divorce lawyers know all too well, many people use Facebook for more than just sharing photos and updates with their loved ones. In many cases, people – married people included – use Facebook to find new connections and rekindle sparks with old acquaintances.
Facebook Can and Will Be Used Against You
If you fall into the latter category, you may ultimately find yourself facing what has been termed a “Facebook divorce.” This is a divorce that results in either partially or entirely from one spouse’s activity online. Whether you are preparing for a Facebook divorce, or you are going through a divorce that has been triggered by other circumstances, your spouse’s divorce attorney can (and likely will) focus on what you’ve been saying and doing on social media.
1. Your Public Posts and Comments Will Become Evidence in Your Divorce.
Anything on your public profile is fair game. While your spouse cannot log in to your account without your consent, your spouse and his or her attorney can certainly scour your publicly-available photos, status updates, and comments for evidence to use against you.
Even if you are going through a no-fault divorce, evidence of infidelity, alcohol or drug use, and late nights out can all factor into the outcome of your divorce.
As early as 2010, a survey conducted by the American Association of Matrimony Lawyers (AAML) revealed that 67% of lawyers use Facebook as the primary source of evidence when representing clients in a divorce.
2. Your Spouse Can Request Your Entire Facebook History.
While you may be thinking you can simply delete items that you don’t want to have out there to be used against you, (i) this can get you in trouble, and (ii) your spouse can (and likely will) request your entire Facebook history during your divorce. There are forensic methods available for finding deleted posts, and deleting something only to have it found later isn’t going to help your position in negotiations, and it certainly won’t make you look good in court.
3. Your Spouse Knows Where You Went, When, and With Whom.
If you share a lot of photos and status updates on Facebook, your spouse may be able to develop a surprisingly-detailed timeline of your recent real-life activity.
Why is this important? For one, if your spouse is accusing you of adultery in a fault-based divorce, your spouse may be able to use your Facebook posts to help prove your infidelity.
As another example, if you are seeking custody, your spouse may be able to use Facebook evidence to argue that awarding you custody is not in the best interests of your children.
4. Your Spouse Can Also Use Posts By Your Friends (and Your Friends’ Friends).
So far we’ve been talking about your spouse using your own Facebook posts, but don’t forget that your friends (and your friends’ friends) may also be tagging you in photos and talking about you online. If you and your spouse have Facebook friends in common, your spouse may be able to use their photos and posts against you as well.
5. Your Spouse May Even Be Able to Serve You through Facebook.
Last year, a state court judge allowed a wife to serve divorce papers on her husband via a private message on Facebook. The husband had reportedly more or less abandoned his wife, though he kept in touch occasionally through the social media platform. When the wife’s attempts to use traditional means of service were unsuccessful, the judge ruled that she could use Facebook to legally initiate her divorce.
Are You Facing a Divorce in Ohio? Contact Laubacher & Co. for a Free Consultation Today
At Laubacher & Co., we are a team of experienced divorce attorneys who represent clients in Ohio divorces. If you would like to discuss your personal situation in confidence, call (855) 701-1004 or send us a message online. Get a fresh start today.