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Social media: an evidence aggregator in divorce cases

Last month we talked about the story of a woman who discovered her estranged (but not legally divorced) husband had another wife. She discovered this act of bigamy because Facebook suggested that she become friends with the second wife. The effects social media can have on marriage can ultimately lead to divorce - and even then, social media could be central to the divorce process.

Using social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter before, during and after a divorce can greatly affect you in a few ways. First, updating your status or composing a tweet provides written proof of your feelings. In the heat of the moment, you may want to tell everyone about how your former spouse is treating during the divorce process. However, whatever you post can then be used by the opposing attorney to defame your character or contradict your earlier testimony.

Social media also establishes any communication you have had with others; lines of communication that could reveal any assets or offensive comments you intended to keep private during your divorce.

Another way Facebook and Twitter can impact divorce proceedings is by providing written or photographic evidence of a person's actions.

One example of this is a woman who requested spousal support from her husband. During their marriage, she suffered a debilitating accident and she claimed the alimony would help her live with the effects of the injury. Her husband countered by discovering Facebook photos that showed the woman belly dancing four years after the accident. The judge handling this case denied the wife's alimony claims.

Source: Media Bistro, "How Do Family Law Attorneys Use Social Media For Evidence?," Lauren Dugan, April 10, 2012

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