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How is Facebook changing divorce?

Photo of Karen Lavin


Many, if not most, residents in Illinois have Facebook accounts. This social network site has changed the face of divorce. How? In two main ways: by setting the groundwork for a divorce and as a rich source of evidence during the divorce. This post will focus on the second aspect: evidence during the divorce.

How often is evidence found on Facebook used in divorce cases? Often. Indeed, a recent study by the American Association of Matrimony Lawyers showed that two-thirds of attorneys used Facebook as a key source of evidence during divorce.

What kind of evidence can be unearthed? Plenty of evidence ranging from text to photos could be retrieved from the social network and used in dissolution.. Let's say a friend "tags" one of the parents while they are having a beer at a time when that parent claims he did not have time to spend with his children. Or, for example, a message history shows one spouse flirting with a third party. Even a location tag on a photo could show that a spouse was not where they said they would be at that time. The possibilities are endless.

How can Illinoisans lessen the damage done by Facebook? One way is to treat Facebook as if a judge will see it because damaging information could easily be on the site. Second, keep in mind that you are not the only one who can post information and photos about you on Facebook. Friends and family could easily post to the page and what they share might be damaging.

But Facebook is just the tip of the iceberg. There are many problems lurking unseen to trap the unwary. To avoid those traps, Illinoisans may benefit from discussing their situation and divorce issues with an experienced divorce attorney.

Source: FindLaw, "Facebook Divorce," Accessed March 2, 2015

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