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Facebook and other social media impact Illinois family law

Photo of Karen Lavin

Family law matters are deeply personal to Illinois residents. Divorces, child custody, child support and alimony disputes involve emotional and private information. Couples are trying to divide assets and finances. They are emotionally dealing with the breakup of their relationship and determining what is best for themselves and for their children going forward.

Yet, despite the sensitive nature of family law matters, more and more family related disputes are being played out on people's social media accounts. These include Facebook accounts, Twitter and Tumblr.

Specifically, 901 million people actively use Facebook every month around the world. It has become an integral part of many people's everyday lives.

According to divorce attorneys, they are now seeing a rise in the number of people filing for divorce because of something they have seen or heard about on a social media site. A rising number of people have claimed to have found out about spouses who are cheating or who are unhappy via these social media sites. Many claim they then filed for divorce based on this evidence.

There has also been a rise in the number of people who are using Facebook, Twitter and other social media networks to modify their child support or alimony claims. Here, people are finding out that their exes have more money than they initially claimed through pictures and other posts. They are then taking this information to court to prove their cases.

This rise of the use of social media in Illinois family law proceedings is important because many courts will include information found on these sites, including Facebook, during court proceedings. People do not often realize that these sites are not private and things that they post can be used against them in a court.

As social media becomes a popular source of evidence in family law matters, people need experienced representation from attorneys that are familiar with this new trend. A lawyer can help you keep harmful information away from the other side.

Source: WTSP 10, "Social media sites becoming the new face of divorce," Lisa Petrillo, May 3, 2012

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