The advent of social media sites has vastly changed the world. We are more connected than ever before, creating new friendships and relationships in ways that previous generations would have thought was science fiction. What does social media and the infinite interconnectivity it provides have to do with divorce?

For a 41-year-old man in the state of Washington, the two are unforgettably linked. He is being charged with bigamy after getting married to another woman without divorcing his first wife. The whole situation came to light because, while perusing Facebook, the man’s first wife received a suggestion from the site to send a friend request to the second wife. When she went to the second wife’s profile, there were pictures of her and the man posing with a wedding cake.

The 41-year-old had previously run away from his first wife and changed his name in 2009. They had been married since 2001, but it is unknown why neither spouse tried to file for divorce after the man fled.

It is a bizarre story that isn’t quite out of the ordinary. Bigamy charges are somewhat uncommon, but given the interconnectivity provided by social media sites – such as Facebook – they could become more common.

The threat of divorce posed by social media is the big point to take away from this story. The entire purpose of Facebook is to give people the opportunity to forge connections with others who they may not see often or may never even get the chance to meet.

Though there is no excuse for bigamy, the idea that a social media platform could ruin a marriage and put a high-asset spouse at risk is something all married couples need to understand. Take care when using social media or online tools, especially when you are dealing with your personal interests.

Source: Minneapolis Star Tribune, “Discovery by woman using Facebook leads to bigamy charges against Washington man,” Manuel Valdes, Mar. 10, 2012