One third of all divorce filings last year in 2011 contained the word “Facebook,” according to Divorce Online, and more than 80 percent of U.S. divorce attorneys say they’re seeing an increase in the role social networking is playing in divorce proceedings, according to the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers.
Divorce lawyer Marian Rosen, who works out of Houston, Rexas, says she’s seeing more and more social media being cited in divorce proceedings, and in child custody battles too.
“We’ve had instances where they pull up Facebook in the course of a deposition,” Rosen told ABC News, adding that in addition to proving infidelity, she’s seen also seen a few cases where kids’ profiles are referenced as evidence to suggest bad parenting. “Once it’s out there for the world, it’s very difficult … to erase from the past. There are going to be trails that can be followed.”
Three years ago, just 20 percent of divorce filings contained the word “Facebook.” By 2011, that figure had increased to 33 percent, according to AAML.
The leading infractions were the same, though, including inappropriate messages to “friends” of the opposite sex and nasty banter between spouses who were separated. Sometimes, Facebook friends would blab to one spouse about bad or inappropriate behavior by the other spouse.
Of course, this news comes as no surprise to Ilana Gershon, an Indiana University professor who wrote the book, “The Breakup 2.0: Disconnecting Over New Media.”
For the book, Gershon sat down with 72 people, ranging in age from their late teens to their late 50s, to talk about the role social media played in the breakup of their relationships.
“It turns out a lot of my interviews revolved around Facebook,” she told ABC News. “I feel quite thrilled when I get a Skype breakup or a text message story instead. Finally not Facebook,” she quipped.
Gershon interviewed many partners who were stuck in the cycle of breaking up and then getting back together with the same partner. To finally put and end to the cycle, some would actually break up via a Facebook wall post.
“One of the things I found was that people would sometimes turn to these media as a way to finally end the relationship,” Gershon said. “They would use a medium that was so unacceptable that it would make the other partner furious…’How could I have been with someone who is willing to text this?’”
Gershon also found that many college students actually went so far as to deactivate their Facebook accounts in order to save their relationships. Many users reported feeling suspicious and thus stalking their partners’ Facebook profiles.
“They describe Facebook as something that would turn them into jealous, distrustful people,” Gershon said. “It was a really interesting question for me because one stopped texting or emailing to save a relationship. Why do people feel Facebook transformed who they are?”
Who would have thought that a little status update could have such a big impact?
More in the video below.
- A Third of all Divorce Filings in the UK Contain the word Facebook (slog.thestranger.com)
- Does Facebook wreck marriages? (americablog.com)
- Lawyers say Facebook a growing factor in divorce (bizjournals.com)
- Social media makes it easier to cheat (newsnet5.com)