Burke Levy, P.C.

Here's how Facebook impacts family law cases

For Massachusetts spouses who are facing a divorce and have a Facebook account, it is highly likely that their social media will play a role in the case. Family law attorneys know that Facebook is a treasure trove of information that can be used to support a client's case. More and more often, social media is playing a pivotal role in divorce and child custody cases, a trend that is playing out across the nation. 

Cheating is one of the biggest issues facing Facebook users, and is the reason for the end of many marriages. Having on-demand access to past friends and lovers makes it all-too-easy to strike up connections with people who would otherwise be far outside one's circle of acquaintances. That can quickly lead to inappropriate relationships, up to and including actual infidelity. 

While most divorce courts won't give much weight to an affair, issues related to the dissipation of marital wealth are another matter entirely. Facebook is sometimes used as a source of evidence about spending related to an extramarital affair. While cheating might not make much difference in court, spending marital wealth to support an affair certainly will. 

The best advice for Massachusetts spouses is to make very careful decisions about how to use social media, including Facebook. A great deal of personal information is stored by Facebook, and the company complies with subpoenas issued by family law courts. In the digital age, it is important to remember that anything posted online or sent by  text message can and will be used against the individual doing so. 

Source: Time, "Divorce Lawyer: Facebook Is a Cheating Machine", James Sexton, March 26, 2018

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