News stories were posted today on CNN.com and VanityFair.com claiming that a growing number of people are using Facebook to cheat on their spouses…. and getting caught! Divorce lawyers have discovered that many careless cheaters leave obvious evidence of their infidelity on social networking sites, where anyone can find it. In fact, a site called FacebookCheating.com has recently popped up to hype this phenomena. According to CNN, “a recent survey by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers found that 81 percent of divorce attorneys have seen an increase in the number of cases using social networking evidence during the past five years. More than 66 percent of those attorneys said the No. 1 site most often used as evidence is Facebook with its 400 million registered users.”
So if this internet evidence of cheating is out there, how can it be useful in a court where most divorces proceed under the no-fault laws? In my experience, Facebook and other social networking sites can be gold mines of useful evidence that can help parents to win custody cases. Too many people post pictures and stories of their drunken or bawdy behavior on their profiles. Facebook evidence can prompt a judge to question a parent’s ability to observe appropriate values and boundaries with their children. Evidence of cheating is not necessarily relevant to the economic aspects of most no-fault divorces, but it can be a defense to spousal support or alimony under some circumstances. If you discover a spouse’s Facebook profile with damaging evidence of cheating, contact your family lawyer immediately to find out what to do next.