How Social Networking Can Affect Your Divorce Settlement and Child Custody

Social networking has become an essential part of our lives over the years, as it helps us keep in touch with our friends, colleagues and family members, and easily meet new people with the click of a mouse.

But, when social networking sites are used to reconnect with old flames or begin new affairs, it can leave a trail that your former spouse's divorce attorneys may find very useful. In fact, more and more divorces are somehow related to social networking sites.

In recent years, divorce attorneys report a significant increase in "Facebook divorces" - a term that legal experts use to describe divorces that are caused in some way by social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, MySpace and other online meeting places.

Often marriages dissolve when one spouse leaves behind a cyber-trail of adultery evidence - such as provocative photos and messages - that the other spouse can point to as proof of an affair in the real world.

How Virtual Communication Leads to Real Problems During a Divorce

Just as social networking can be used by one spouse to find out if the other has been unfaithful, attorneys are increasingly using these online communications as evidence in court during divorce cases. According to the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (AAML), 81 percent of divorce attorneys are using evidence found on social networking sites in their cases.

This can have damaging effects on a divorce case, as attorneys can use a spouses own words to undermine their credibility. Writing about things like nights out on the town, vacations, and new toys purchased can be used against someone in court and can play a role in decisions about spousal support and even child custody.

And this does not just apply to the things exes post themselves. If Facebook "friends" post damaging information, attorneys may use that against them too.

In order to prevent problems with your divorce case, it is best to be careful about what you post online, especially as it relates to your whereabouts and your spending. Also, legal experts say you should keep your online friends separate from your ex's. If your divorce is particularly contentious, you may want to refrain from using social networking sites all together.

Get Help During a Divorce

If you need assistance with divorce and custody matters, contact an experienced family law attorney. The dissolution of a marriage can be an emotionally stressful time - and you should not go through it alone. Having a qualified advocate in your corner can help make it easier as you navigate through the legal issues that arise during your divorce.