Heymann & Fletcher

Facebook is more and more at the center of family law cases

Nearly everyone in New Jersey has a Facebook account these days. People spend an appreciable amount of their days reading their news feeds, posting statuses and sending messages. As a result, the popular social media site is appearing more often in family law cases, including divorce proceedings.

Any number of reasons exists may prompt a couple to end their marriage. One reason that seems to be growing in numbers is Facebook. The online relationships that people foster may cross the line between being friendly and become romantic in nature. In some cases, that relationship develops right next to the other spouse.

However, that is not the extent of Facebook's involvement in a divorce. A growing number of New Jersey judges are seeing posts and photos from Facebook offered as evidence in divorce proceedings. The information is often used to establish that one spouse has a relationship outside the marriage and/or that a spouse is not being forthcoming with the court regarding his or her financial situation. Still other Facebook information is used in child custody battles to discredit the other parent.

It seems that more and more of people's lives are spent online. Surprisingly, many of them believe that their activities on social media sites such as Facebook are private. Considering the increasing number of cases where evidence from social media is presented in family law cases, it is not difficult to come to the conclusion that true privacy does not exist online. Therefore, whether a person is trying to gather information, or hide it, Facebook may turn out to be a treasure trove of information in a divorce or other court proceeding.

Source: theindychannel.com, "Facebook increasingly cited in divorce cases", Jason Beisel, Jan. 21, 2015

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