Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Cheating Spouses on Facebook

by Wendy Alton

So it was just announced that San Antonio Spurs’ Tony Parker, currently divorcing from Desperate Housewife Eva Longoria, had a fling with a woman that he kept in touch with on Facebook. You can be absolutely sure that this isn’t just a celebrity phenomena. Facebook has made us all our own day-to-day celebrities as we broadcast what we do, where we go, and how we feel. We share our pictures, our jokes, our successes and our gripes. And yes, we are sharing our divorce battle stories.

Research conducted this summer showed that divorce attorneys are becoming more and more fluent in social networking sites—Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn, YouTube and Twitter to name a few. Lawyers are using these sites to find out information about the other spouse during a divorce. There have been dozens of stories over the last year discussing how things a spouse posted online, whether a picture, wall post, or
status update, were used against that spouse in a divorce or custody proceeding.

This has become so prevalent, that there is now a website devoted solely Facebook cheating: On that site, you can read articles to help you discover if your spouse is cheating, read stories of others who have experienced infidelity due to Facebook, and learn what to do with your Facebook page if you are going through a divorce.

So you ask, what exactly can be used against you from your Facebook page? EVERYTHING. Everything you say, every picture you post and every friend you have. Facebook comments, wall posts, status updates, friends, pictures and videos are admissible in Court for issues such as fault, custody, parenting time, child support, and property division.

In my own experience as a Michigan divorce lawyer, I have not only used Facebook evidence in divorce and custody proceedings, my opposing attorney has used the same against my own clients. For example, Facebook can be used to prove extra-marital relationships. It can be used to show alcohol use. Every disparaging comment said about your soon-to-be-ex-spouse is printed, saved, and presented to court to show that public derogatory comments are being made about the other spouse, and yes, that is considered by the court in a custody dispute.

It is absolutely essential to guard what you do online on Facebook if you are going through a divorce. The safest solution is to deactivate your Facebook page. This will take you page offline until you sign in next. You will not lose your friends, nor your posts or pictures—it will just take your page out of general public view. Once your divorce is final, then you can activate once again.

Some say that you should just adjust your privacy settings. However, remember that your friends will see everything you post—and during a divorce, sometimes your friends are not necessarily on your side. On the other hand, keeping your Facebook page allows you to see what your spouse may be doing, if they are on Facebook. After all, it is the war of the roses, right?

If you are interested in learning more about divorce, or have a question about divorce, please call Wendy Alton at 248-380-9976 or email her at

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